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Constantine "Gus" Gianakaris

May 2, 1934 - April 26, 2024
Kalamazoo, MI



Friday, May 10, 2024
11:00 AM EDT
St. Luke Episcopal Church
247 West Lovell
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
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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.

Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
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Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
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Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-6256
Driving Directions
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Life Story / Obituary


Gianakaris, Constantine “GUS” age 89, of Kalamazoo died on April 26, 2024. Gus was born May 2, 1934 in Morenci, MI, the son of John and Anna (Parry) Gianakaris. He is survived by his wife Ann Gianakaris; daughter Beth (Daniel) Groshans; grandchildren Alex (Alicia Collier) Groshans; Laura (Will) Carmichael; brother George Gianakaris; and nieces: Susan Gianakaris and Kristy Tucker. Services will be held Friday, May 10, 2024 at 11:00 am at St. Lukes Episcopal church (247 W Lovell).

Gus lived in Morenci seven years with his parents and older brother George. He became passionate about music during this time, starting piano lessons at age 4 and singing in choral groups. In 1947 his family moved to Ypsilanti where his Father’s business interests took them. There, he continued piano studies through high school graduation in 1952. He attended Ypsilanti Roosevelt High School, a lab school for Eastern Michigan University, earning college credit in mathematics and foreign languages while attending high school. He served as class president twice and participated in music, journalism, school governance and tennis.

Music remained a central interest at Ypsilanti Roosevelt, and Gus enrolled for two summer institutes for piano study at Interlochen Arts Camp. He also was drawn to aircraft design. Upon admission to the University of Michigan in 1952, he initially opted to major in aeronautical engineering. The lure of literature and arts resulted I a change to study of Shakespeare and English Renaissance drama.

While at Ann Arbor for a B.A. (1956) and M.A. (1957), Gus was deeply involved in various campus activities, such as men’s glee club and Michigan Men’s Union. He was president of his social fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha. While a student, Gianakaris was nominated for memberships in several honoraries, including Druids and Hectorians. While studying for the Masters he was assistant resident advisor for East Quadrangle dormitory at Michigan. While on campus he met his future wife, Ann (Kallis) Gianakaris. He and Ann married in 1957 and moved that summer to Madison, Wisconsin, for his PhD, completed at University of Wisconsin in 1961. He was Assistant to the Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences at Wisconsin for three years.

Upon graduating from Wisconsin in 1961, Gianakaris accepted a post first as Assistant then Associate Professor of English at Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal (IL). In 1966 he moved as Associate then full Professor to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI. Until his retirement in 2004, he was teacher and researcher of Shakespeare, dramatic literature, and journalism. During his years on Western’s campus, Gianakaris earned a Teaching Excellence award and a Community Medal of Arts Award while publishing and editing nine books and countless scholarly articles.

He also became a regular reviewer of music and theater for the Kalamazoo Gazette during this period, a post he held for almost 30 years. Gianakaris has been a member of the Music Critics Association of North America (MCANA) for 15 years. He led annual bus tours to the Stratford (Ontario) Shakespeare Festival for 25 years and tours the London theater scene for ten years. He was a frequent participant in the OLLI program in the Kalamazoo region in which he featured theater and opera.

Celebrate Gus’s life online by sharing your favorite stories and photos on his dedicated webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49009 (269)375-2900.