New York.- Mr. Peter T. Kikis, beloved President of FAITH Endowment and an inspiration to everyone he has touched with his labors of love and philanthropy, passed away on the evening of Thursday, February 28, 2013. He was 90 years old. He was a well known Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, and Distinguished Member of the Hellenic-American and Greek Orthodox communities.
The son of Greek immigrants from Arcadia, Peter was born and raised in New Rochelle, New York. He lost his father when he was eleven years old and thereafter started working to help support his mother and sisters.
Peter received his Bachelors’ Degree summa cum laude from Princeton University, where he majored in Mathematics and studied under Albert Einstein. He graduated a year early and immediately he went to serve as a Captain in the US Army in Europe during World War II. As part of his military service, he participated in the Battle of the Bulge under General George Patton and also liberated Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany, earning four Battle Stars for his service in the War.
As many of you know, until the time of his passing, Peter was the President and a Principal of Spencer Management Company, a real estate development and management company in New York, where he kept daily office hours since 1950. Until 1985, Peter was also involved in the shipping-maritime business. Peter served as a Principal and Co-Chairman on McRoberts Protective Agency, a New York based provider of security guard services from 1972 to 1992. He was Chairman of the Board of Command Security Corporation, a public security corporation, since September, 2006. He also served as Director of Deltec International S.A. and Atlas Capital Group Holdings S.A..
When not at his office at 720 Fifth Avenue, one could usually find Peter at the Regency Whist Club, playing bridge.
Peter was actively involved in many community and philanthropic organizations. Peter was one of the ten Original Founders of Faith: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism, and served as the Endowment’s President since its inception in 2006 until his passing. As President, Peter worked tirelessly and enthusiastically, devoting his time and expertise to supporting the Endowment’s mission to develop innovative educational, cultural, and scholarship programs for young people that promote an understanding of the Orthodox faith, Hellenism, and the relationship of the two to America’s history and multicultural landscape. Under his leadership, the Endowment grew from the original ten Founders to thirty-three Founders and expanded several of its scholarship programs to support the young people’s relationship to Hellenism and Orthodoxy by relating their heritage to excellence and leadership in the community and in their national and international citizenship. A proponent of education and a role model of excellence and leadership beyond academic endeavors, Peter actively pursued and initiated partnerships (on behalf of FAITH) with organizations such as the Fulbright Foundation of Greece and also, new scholarship programs encouraging the best and brightest young Greek Americans to pursue studies, research and careers in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and encourage participation in the Hellenic American Community.
Peter was also a member of Leadership 100, and an Archon of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, one of the highest honors bestowed upon laity on behalf of His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. He supported several philanthropic causes and was elected as President of the Board of Trustees of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. He was also a past Chairman of the Lyford Cay Club of Nassau, Bahamas from 1992-1996, where he had a residence.
Peter was married to the late Helen Kikis (née Kalevas) in 1955. He is survived by their son, Thomas P. Kikis, daughter-in-law Stephanie, and three grandchildren: Elena, Peter, and Terrel Kikis. He is also survived by his sister, Ms. Urania (“Uky”) Perakos and the many people whose lives he has positively impacted.
Peter was an irrepressible force of energy, integrity, and good leadership. He will be missed greatly. May his memory be eternal.
A funeral service will be on Wednesday, March 6th at 12:00 pm at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, 319 East 74th Street. Visitation hours will be at Frank E. Campbell’s, Madison Avenue at 81st Street on Tuesday, March 5th 6:00-9:00 pm.
Burial will be private at Milbrook, NY.
Peter’s family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Faith: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism, 499 Park Avenue – 23F, New York, NY 10022.
Faith Endowment plans to honor his memory and service by establishing the FAITH- Peter T. Kikis Scholarship Fund for Excellence.