Sunday, May 6, 2012

Xristos Anesti!

We are saddened to report that one of our Cretan brothers – MIKE PATTERAKIS – has fallen asleep in the Lord. Mike (Manuel) was the third, and last surviving, of four children born to Gregory Emmanuel (Lakous, Crete Greece) and Helen Katsufrakis Patterakis. He was born in 1933 in Dawson, New Mexico.
As many of our immigrant parents and grandparents, Mike’s father was born in Crete and migrated to the United States through Ellis Island (1908) and settled in Grand Junction, Colo. He was a coal miner. Gregory migrated to New Mexico where met his future wife. The arranged marriage meant that Gregory at 32 wed a 15 ½ year old bride. From New Mexico Gregory moved the family to Hiawatha, Utah in 1937 where he again was able to work in the mines.

In 1942 the family made the move to Modesto to reunite with the Katsufrakis family. The family bought a home on 5th Street to be close to the church (on 6th Street). The home came with an upright piano.

Mother Helen learned to play piano in Utah and would play and sing for boarding house dances in Utah. Mike Patterakis Mike would watch Helen play here in Modesto, and learned to play piano himself. He had such a love for music. He sang at church and also in the school chorus at Modesto High School.

After high school graduation, Mike attended Modesto Junior College seeking to become an accountant. However, after hearing him sing, MJC’s department chair advised Mike to change his major to music. He told him he had the talent to become an opera singer. Mike’s passion for music concurred and so Mike changed his major.

His education was cut short when Mike was drafted into the Army in 1956. After spending 2 years in Germany, Mike returned and resumed his studies at San Jose State.

In as much as Mike sang in operas and plays, he felt his occupational ambition was not in opera – but rather teaching. Mike received his Bachelors, Masters and Teaching Credential from San Jose State.

Mike taught in junior and senior high school at Santa Clara from 1961 to 1965. In 1965 Mike was appointed to the Music Department Chair and remained until he retired from teaching in 1982.

Mike too loved the church and its music. Along with his siblings, he sang with the Annunciation Church Choir from its early days. Grace was the director. While in San Jose he cultivated the beautiful voices of the outstanding St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church for seven years as their director. When he left San Jose he gave the reigns to talented Tiky Zes.

Back in Modesto Mike rejoined the Annunciation choir. However, the calling for Mike’s ability to teach and direct were soon resurrected when St. Basil’s Church of Stockton persuaded him to direct their choir. They asked for only 3 months. However, the 3-month commitment extended into 10 years! Mike masterfully united their voices into an award-winning choir until his final retirement in 2003. He loved the church and gave back through its music.

Back in Modesto, Manoli became the voice of the Greek Food Festival—singing and entertaining our patrons while they dined for decades.

Mike was an individual who was there to help whenever called. He even co-chaired the picnic at Modesto’s 1995 National Convention, while his sister Grace was President of Sisterhood Eleftheria at the time.

Mike’s battle with cancer ended last Sunday evening, April 8th

The Trisagion for Mike will be chanted on Tuesday, April 17th @ 7:00PM at the Church of the Annunciation…

Funeral services will be on Wednesday, April 18th @ 10AM also at the Church.

Interment will be at Acacia Memorial Park Cemetery.

The set-up the traditional Makaria will occur on Tuesday @ 4PM. Any help would be appreciated.

To his extended family our prayers are with you….ETERNAL BE HIS MEMORY…Eonia h mnimi aftou… Zois Ologous. XRISTOS ANESTI

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