Margaret Karakas announced the death of her father Nick Karakas, on Monday February 1, 2021.
A son of Greek immigrants he was born in St. Lewis, Missouri. After serving in the Marine Corps, he enrolled at Saint Louis University and went to work with his father and brother.
He was a strong patron of the Hellenic causes and a tru philanthropist. In an interview he gave it was pointed out that Nick Karakas didn’t wait to become a wealthy man to begin his philanthropic activities. He began awarding college scholarships in 1955—only a few years after his own graduation.
He was owner of over 40 Discount Smoke Shops in the mid-west.
In the 1980s, he established the Karakas Family Foundation Scholarship and donated $550,000 to found a Greek studies program at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. He later played an integral role in raising funds for the campus’ Hellenic Culture Center.
Later on with an endowment of $1.5 million he played an instrumental role for the creation of “The Hellenic Government-Karakas Family Foundation Professorship in Greek Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.”
I first met Nick Karakas in 1991, along with other member of OCL (Orthodox Christian Laity), when I was writing a long series of articles on land Greek Orthodox Archdiocese had bought in Purchase, New York. Through the years, we were seeing each other at the Clergy Laity Congresses of the Archdiocese.
Until the end of 2018 he was sending us regularly for publication, news from Greek Studies chair at the University of Missouri.
During the election period and until he death, he has posted numerous comments on www.greeknewsonline.com , expressing support to Donald Trump.
May his memory be eternal!
The family announcement
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear father, Nick Karakas, husband of the late Sophia Peppes Karakas, brother of Frances Demetre and the late Tony Karakas; father-in-law, grandfather, uncle to many nieces and nephews, and godfather. Dad fell asleep peacefully in the hands of our Lord and Savior, on Monday, February 1st, just four days shy of his 95th birthday.
As a family, we feel blessed knowing that the last 32 months, Dad’s home was our home, and was part of God’s divine plan for family reconciliation and unification where we could spend time reconnecting, reminiscing and just loving one another.
Our loss is shared by many young and old who knew Nick throughout his career in the tobacco Industry, through many Greek organizations, charitable foundations, business ventures and partnerships and other educational endeavors and scholarships in which he was an integral member, founder and ardent supporter.
He was a WWII Marine Corps Veteran, a philanthropist and a warrior activist who frequently wrote editorials espousing his strong beliefs in politics and religion championing many causes both popular and not so popular. His writings stirred the emotions of many as he often liked to poke fun at the obvious but often ludicrously ridiculous just to make a point.
There was the ‘public’ persona and a very different ‘private’ persona of Nick which few other than family knew. Like many, he was a man of contradictions and polarizations, but throughout it all, his enduring faith, love for family, his Greek roots/ancestry, country, freedom, democracy, the right to life, the Greek church, Orthodoxy, Hellenism, history, current events and MAGA politics is what kept him engaged, thriving to achieve a long richly filled and blessed life.
Today, we rejoice believing in our hearts that Dad’s soul resides in God’s Kingdom, free from the physical discomfort, pain and disappointment of the temporal world. May his memory be eternal.
In respecting our father’s explicit wishes, services and burial are private. For those wishing to pay tribute or honor Nick, we ask that you kindly send your contributions to:
St. Peter’s Orthodox Church, Naples, FL Capital Campaign Building Fund
Orthodox Christian Laity