100-Year-Old Grandfather Honored With Leadership 100 Membership
 

Kerasia and Symeon Kefalidis, seated, with left to right, son Chrysanthos holding his grandson, Sotirios; daughter Effie Melidis, with her son, Yiannis; and  grandchildren Melanie, Dimitrios, Elias and Marisa Kefalidis.

Symeon Kefalidis of Alexandroupolis, Greece, who celebrated his 100th birthday this past October, and his wife of 75 years, Kerasia, received a special gift from their daughter-in-law and three of their grandchildren: a new and fulfilled membership in the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund!
 
Laurie Kefalidis of New York City, a fulfilled member, and her children, Melanie, Elias and Marisa, honored Leadership 100 with the gesture in memory of her husband and their father, Nikos, a fulfilled member and dedicated member of the Board of Trustees. A leading businessman and philanthropist and a long-time friend of Archbishop Iakovos, Nikos Kefalidis perished in the tragic crash of Swissair Flight 111 in Nova Scotia, Canada in 1998 en route to Geneva, where he planned to travel on to Istanbul with a stopover in Greece to visit his parents in Alexandroupolis. Archbishop Iakovos, who died in 2005, conducted the memorial service at Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral in New York City.
 
Symeon and Kerasia were both born in the Pontus area of Turkey near the Black Sea and fled when the Pontus Greeks were persecuted by the Turks in the early 20th century. A significant percentage of the Pontus Greeks lost their lives while the remainder dispersed to France, the United States, and the Caucasus, between the Black and Caspian Seas and to Greece. Symeon’s own Odyssey took him to the Caucasus region where he plied a variety of trades and business ventures as far as Moscow. He immigrated to Greece in 1939 and established the very home he lives in today in Alexandroupolis. He lost several siblings and children and was an eyewitness to the genocide of the Armenians in Turkey. He suffered continued persecution from the Bolsheviks while living in the Caucasus and from the Bulgarians during the World War 2 Bulgarian occupation of northern Greece. Two brothers were even exiled to forced labor in Siberia.
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