John Pagonis, 84, of Watkinsville, died on Friday, January 3, 2020.
John was born in Piraeus, Greece in February of 1935. His young life was affected by World War II followed by a Civil War. In search of a better life (and having a cousin who owned a restaurant in Canada) he left Greece at age 20 with $20 in his pocket to find an uncertain future. In a few years he boarded a bus to New York to work for a restaurant. In New York he met and fell in love with Ruth, whom he was married to for over 60 years.
John and Ruth began a pizza restaurant in New Britain, Connecticut. With the large Greek community from St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church and local college they were successful for many years. As they began their family, John and Ruth were very involved with the community, their children’s school, and a love of swimming at every beach in New England. Eventually they moved to Athens, Georgia to be closer to their daughter Christina. In the 1990s they bought and ran and Sons of Italy with their older son, Jimmy before semi-retiring and working for Bulldog Limo. John just could not sit still and worked until illness slowed him down. What did not slow down was his love for his family, the ocean, and Greece.
We celebrate the life of John as a loving husband, father, grandfather, friend, and a great pizza maker. He leaves behind many memories, lots of tall Greek tales, and a few bottles Ouzo. May his memory be eternal!
Funeral liturgies for John will be held on Tuesday, January 7, at 11:00 a.m. at Saint Philothea Greek Orthodox Church in Watkinsville. Interment will follow the service at Oconee Memorial Park. The family will receive friends the evening before from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m. at Lord and Stephens, West.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:
St. Philothea Greek Orthodox Church
3761 Mars Hill Road
Watkinsville GA 30677
Lord and Stephens Funeral Home, WEST, Watkinsville, GA, is in charge of arrangements. www.lordandstephens.com