Tuesday, November 27, 2018
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EST
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Trisagion Service will be held at 7 PM.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Panagiotis “Panos” Androutsopoulos passed away into the next world in his sleep Friday, November 23, 2018, the morning after a festive family Thanksgiving celebration at his home. He is survived by his wife Theoni; daughters: Vicky Kettner and life-partner Peter Battani, Tina Kocefas and former son-in-law Ziggy Kocefas; grandchildren: Andrew J. Kettner (Kasandra), Peter W. Kettner, Alena T.M. Kocefas, Alexi A. Kocefas, Aaron S. Kettner (Erica), Sarah H. Johncock (Alex), and Amanda Russo (Eric); brothers: Dennis Andruson of Kalamazoo, Yiannis Androutsopoulos of Greece; and several first and second cousins throughout the United States, Canada and Greece. He was preceded in death by his sister Archondoula Androutsopoulos of Greece.
Panos was born July 26, 1926, outside the city limits of Aigion in the village of Koumari in the Peloponnesus of Greece. He was the eldest child of four to Constantinos and Vassiliki (Laliotis) Androutsopoulos. They made their livelihood through farming ancestral lands growing various crops including olives, currents, lemons and almonds. He excelled at school and was fortunate to attend and graduate high school. He graduated from the Greek Military Academy of Syros. As a Lieutenant, he served the Greek Army and saw action at the end of the Greek Civil War. He was appointed to attend the Greek War Academy of Army Officers and earned a lifetime rank of Major in the Greek Army Reserve.
In his small hometown of Koumari, he was a three-term mayor and was voted by his peers as Mayor of the Year in his state. He might have served a fourth term had he not lead a campaign to remove a grove of ancient olive trees to install an irrigation system. This cost him a future in local politics but, he maintained till the end, it was “the right thing to do.”
With Greece in economic turmoil, the Greek Diaspora took him to Germany where he lived in Germany for nearly 20 years on a work visa. He learned the German language and enjoyed the Greek community. In 1966, at the age of 40, he asked for the hand in marriage of Theoni Koukou who had dreams of adventures and new opportunities. They married December 26 in Aigion and the next day flew to Germany where they would work together at the Pheldtmuelle paper plant in Uetersen and where their first daughter, Vassiliki (Vicky), was born the following October. In Germany they worked hard and saved their money with plans to return to Greece to join their families, but a switch of opportunities drew them to the States where his younger brother Dennis lived.
Panos moved his family to Kalamazoo, Michigan April 1, 1974. In 1975, his second daughter, Tina Elen was born. He worked for Bronson Hospital in the Environmental Services Department for 18 years until his retirement. He became an American citizen in 1983, one of his proudest moments. He was a member of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. He was a believer in the Mysteries of Christ and attended church when he felt well and when it wasn’t hunting season.
He was well read in the Greek classics and European history, had a pension for mathematics, and enjoyed reading about the ever-expanding Universe. A Greek-to-English/English-to-Greek dictionary was one of his most worn books.
He loved the sport of soccer, and while it’s not known if he ever played himself, he was an expert sideline coach often at times inserting himself in his youngest daughter’s and grandsons’ coaching teams to give advice and counsel and critique.
His hobbies through the years included bowling, Sudoku, playing backgammon and sharing Greek word puzzles with Theoni. He was an avid turkey and deer hunter and never missed a season until the age of 91.
Panos knew his blessings: a devoted wife of nearly 52 years, many friends who would leave this life before him, a loving and extended church family, and good neighbors. He was grateful for the show of respect that was given to him when family and friends gathered to celebrate his 90th birthday and his and Theoni’s 50th wedding anniversary. Above all things, Panos was proud of his family; his girls, and particularly, all his grandchildren who gave him great and tremendous joy. He was proud of each of their accomplishments and encouraged them all to excel at their passions and hoped for them futures of endless opportunities to live happy, successful and honorable lives.
His wisdom, love and humor will be missed, always.