February 7, 1926 – June 11, 2012
The soul of Mary Pappas, 86, of South Bend departed this earthly life on Monday, June 11, 2012. Mary was the third of four daughters born February 7, 1926 in St. Louis, MO to Helen (Eleni Gregoriou) and Pantelis Pappas (Papamihael). In 1928 the family moved from St. Louis to South Bend where she lived her entire life. Mary liked to say, “I was born in St. Louis but baptized in South Bend” at the age of three, May 26, 1929 at St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church which was located on the southeast corner of Jefferson and William Streets. She was a lifelong member of the parish.
Mary was preceded in death by both of her parents in 1971 and by her oldest sister, Coola Pappas Philippis in 2000. She is survived by her sisters, Anna Pappas with whom she made her home and who lovingly cared for her, and Aphrodite Pappas, her friend and companion both of South Bend.
Also surviving are her brother-in-law, Seraphim Philippis (late Coola) of South Bend; nephew and godson Tim Philippis of Gilbert, AZ and nephew, Michael Philippis (TeAnn) and their children, great-nieces Sophia Vasiliki and Nichole Eleni Philippis all of Phoenix, AZ.
Additional survivors include paternal cousin, Helen Alevras of New Jersey, maternal cousins, Spyro Carson (Katarahias) and Persephone Troumpoucis and their other siblings of Illinois, Pete J. Batalis (Lois) of Arizona, Bill Semos (Connie) of California; and numerous second and third cousins.
Upon graduating from South Bend Central High School in 1944, Mary began her working career at Mass Mutual Life Insurance Co. As an executive secretary she was employed by the corporate offices of The Bendix Corp. When the corporate offices relocated to Detroit, MI Mary elected to join the Clark Equipment Corp. in Buchanan, MI from where she took early retirement in 1985.
Mary appreciated the performing arts, especially musicals, and enjoyed classical music, attending the South Bend Symphony regularly from its early years until recently. Her greatest joys were singing in her church choir for 65 years, the Bendix Glee Club, and the South Bend Symphonic Choir as well as her 46 unforgettable years with The Presbyterian Players. Her love of the theater began during her high school days under the direction of James Lewis Casaday and continued through the Players. She appreciated and thrilled not only at the excitement of the productions but cherished the many life-long friendships made during those years. She will be remembered for her performance as Madame Arcadi in “Blythe Spirit” in 1962 and as Auntie Mame in “Mame” in 1979. In addition to performing in numerous productions, Mary served as president and secretary, and co-chaired several anniversary celebrations, including the 50th celebration in 1996 – a memorable “finale”!
Mary served her church not only with her lovely voice, but in other areas. For many years she was chairperson for the annual Parish Council elections, was a parish delegate to the biennial Clerty-laity Congress in New and Chicago, and co-chaired the retreat for the Chicago Diocese held at St. Andrews. She actively participated in many other activities including the downtown Ethnic Festivals, the Grecian Balls, and the Greek Festivals. For her years of dedicated work, she was given the Service Award in 2001. She was a member of The Good Samarian Club (the church’s women’s auxiliary) and served it as secretary for several years.
Mary loved to travel and made her first trip via ship in 1953 to Europe visiting England, Germany, France, Italy, and Greece and made several return trips to Greece over the years. She visited most of the U.S., parts of Canada, and made several cruises to the Caribbean Islands and Mexico. As a supporter to the restoration of Ellis Island, she visited the opening of the museum honoring the AHEPA contribution. In 1956 Mary accompanied her sister, Coola to England as her bridesmaid and accompanied the couple to Paris on their honeymoon. In 1991 she, with her sister Aphrodite, organized a group of 26 friends under the banner of “Hoosier Hellenes” for a trip to Greece, and Istanbul and Ephesus, Turkey. In 1997 she, with her sister Aphrodite, went to Greece especially for a concert at the Herod Atticus conducted by their dear friend, Maestro John Apeitos. Mary with her two sisters went to Paris and then Greece in 2003 to celebrate an American Thanksgiving with Master Panayioti Alexopoulos, who was born here, and they served as his nannies. Mary loved walking him to Leeper Park and once forgot his stroller and had to carry him all the way home. During the past 20 years she traveled numerous times to Arizona to visit her beloved nephews.
A vibrant outgoing personality who loved people and life, Mary was a natural born “flirt” and was the “Pearl Mesta” of her office. She loved little children and connected with them on their level in their play. A gentle soul who disliked confrontations, Mary was the “apple of her mother’s eye”! She will be greatly, greatly missed by family and friends. May her memory be eternal.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, June 16th in St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church with Rev. George Konstantopoulos officiating. Committal services and burial will follow in Highland Cemetery. Friends may call on Friday, June 15th from 4 until 8 p.m. in the church where a Trisagion service will be prayed at 7:00 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to the endowment fund at St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church, the Center for Hospice Care, the Alzheimer’s Association, or the American Cancer Society.
Welsheimer Family Funeral Home, 521 N. William St. is handling arrangements. Family and friends may leave e-mail condolences at www.welsheimer.com.
Charitable donations may be made in Mary's memory to the following organizations:
Alzheimer’s Association, Northern Indiana Chapter
PO Box 4204, South Bend, IN 46634.
American Cancer Society
30 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701
Tel: 800 952 7430 x4712
Center for Hospice and Palliative Care
111 Sunnybrook Court, South Bend, IN 46637
Saint Andrews Greek Orthodox Church
52455 N. Ironwood Dr., South Bend, IN