Elyria - Theodore Ristas “the handsomest man in the world,” 90, passed away on Sunday, August 23, 2020 at Avon Cleveland Clinic Hospital.
He was born on June 10, 1930 in Elyria, Ohio where he was a life-long resident. He was a short stop on the Elyria High School baseball team, and an amazing tennis player.
Theodore enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on November 23, 1950 to serve his country that he loved.
While on leave from the Air Force, he visited his grandmother in Kalogreza, a lovely little town right outside of Athens, Greece. This is where he got his first glimpse of his beautiful future wife Christina, our precious mom, who lived across the street from his grandmother. They met and married in Athens, after a two week Greek Style courtship, (never allowed to be alone, always chaperoned by our mom’s parents, and our dad’s grandmother.)
Our parents were married for 66 years. Still so in love and devoted to one another, our dad always said he was “the luckiest man in the world” to be married to his beloved Christina.
He was honorably discharged from the Air Force on July 11, 1954. He returned home to Elyria and completed Barber School and one year of Business School. He worked for many years as a barber with his Dad, Costas in South Lorain, Ohio. Our Dad loved working, meeting new people, making friends and helping others. While still a barber with our grandfather, he decided to get his Real Estate License to better provide for our family. He worked in real estate until he was hospitalized prior to his passing. When we were little, he worked nights as a janitor, after being on his feet all day as a barber. He sold cars, insurance, and worked at Costco in his late 80’s in addition to selling real estate. He did anything he could do to provide for our family. And he did all of it with a smile on his face and a positive, “glass is half full” attitude, and always grateful to God. Besides being a hard worker and in his words, “the handsomest man in the world,” he was known for his incredible sense of humor which never failed to make us laugh. He was always the life of the party, the star of the show. He loved to dance and sing, and he was amazing at both, whenever he got the chance. He routinely danced the polka with his two granddaughters every time he saw them. On our birthdays every year, he would call us as well as other friends and family with a singing telegram. There is no doubt; he has the most beautiful heart and soul.
He was an active member at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Lorain, Ohio and also served as a board member there. He sang in the Church Choir with his beautiful tenor voice along with his two daughters, Phyllis and Anastasia. Theodore was also a member of the American Hellenic Educational Philanthropic Association, AHEPA. Our dad loved being Greek. He loved the music, the dancing, the food, the culture, the Orthodox Faith and the soul of what it meant to be Greek. He was also honored as a Board of Realtors top producer. He never missed his Elyria High School Class Reunions.
Theodore dedicated his life to his family. “I love you with all my heart,” was part of every conversation we had with our precious Dad. “You can do anything you set your mind to if you work hard and have a positive attitude.” He was compassionate and generous beyond measure to everyone he ever met.
He is survived by his beloved wife Christina Ristas; his loving children: daughter, Phyllis (Michael) Kopan, son, James Ristas, daughter, Anastasia (Emmanuel) Kohelis, and daughter, Maria (Georgio) Theofilos; his five cherished grandchildren, Christina Kohelis, Tykie Theofilos, James Theofilos, Christos Kopan and Anastasia Kopan; brother, Thomas Ristas; sister, Benitta Petsis Nichols; cousin Sam Ristas; His beloved nieces and nephews, inlaws and Koumbari.
He was preceded in death by his father, Gust “Costas” Ristas; mother, Phyllis “Filareti” (Hadgitheodoro) Ristas; brother-in-law, Mark Alex Petsis and great nephew, Dylan Shepherd.
Private Funeral Services were held on Saturday, August 29, 2020 at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and at Elmwood Cemetery in Lorain, Ohio with Fr. Michael Gulgas, presiding. The Honorable AMVETS group offered a 21 gun salute, a flag presentation to our mother Christina, a beautiful prayer and final salute to their fellow Veteran. Memorial Donations may be made in Theodore’s loving memory to St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 2000 Tower Blvd., Lorain, Ohio 44053. Arrangements and services by Reidy-Scanlan-Giovannazzo Funeral Home, Lorain, Ohio. Online condolences may be sent using www.rsgfuneralhome.com.
The family of Theodore are forever grateful for the love, prayers, kindness and compassion that we have all received from cherished family and friends.
Memory Eternal to the servant of God, our precious Theodore, husband, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, koumbaro and friend.
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St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church
2000 Tower Blvd., Lorain OH 44053