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Monday, May 7, 2018

In Memorium: Gust C. Kraras

Gust C. Kraras, 97, a longtime member of the Order of AHEPA, and the man the Berks County AHEPA Chapter is named after, passed away May 5, 2018, surrounded by his loving family in his Wyomissing residence.

His wife, Stella G. (Dialectos) Kraras, passed away August 13, 2011. They were married on April 28, 1946.

Born in Terpsithea, Greece, he was a son of the late Christ J. and Ypapanti (Contos) Kraras.

Gust proudly served in the U.S. Army during WWII in the OSS, a precursor to the CIA.

A self educated businessman, Gust was the patriarch of the Kraras family businesses. He was the owner of the former College Inn at 14th and Union Streets across from Albright College. He went on to own The Lorraine Hotel and Restaurant, White Star Motel and other motels and restaurants in Wildwood, NJ. He went on to become the president and owner of White Star Tours, the family travel company based in Reading, PA.

Gust was a long-time and dedicated member of Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, Reading. His service to the Church began soon after he settled in Reading. He was asked to assist as a chanter, which he continued until his recent illness. He was first elected to the Parish Council in 1948 and had served as a member, secretary or president of the Council for most of the last 70 years. He has also chaired many important committees throughout the years, including the Annual Food Bazaar (which he initiated) for several years, the Church's Library Committee, the Stewardship Committee, and the Celebration Committee. He was also the Editor of the Commemorative Albums in 1970, 1975, and 1989, the Testimonial for Father Tom and Gus Yatron in 1996, and the Consecration Album in 2001. Gust also chaired the committee in 1987, which completely renovated the interior of the church. He was instrumental in arranging for the major Iconography project that beautified the church. Gust chaired the Consecration Committee in 2001 and the Centennial Celebration Committee in 2014. For over fifty years, Gust oversaw the decoration of the Epitafio on Holy Friday and in recent years, underwrote the expense of all the floral decoration of the Church for Easter and Christmas.

Gust spent over 60 years in the Wildwood, NJ area, and was very instrumental with the building, beautification, and financial health of St. Demetrios Greek Orthdox Church of North Wildwood, NJ.

In 1990 Gust was vested with the title of the Archon Deputatos of the Ecumenical Patriarchate by Archbishop Iakovos, He was also a fulfilled member of the Leadership 100. In 1993, he was awarded the Medal of St. Paul by the Archdiocese, and the Archdiocese Laity Award. On May 11, 2002, he was given the distinction of being awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Gust has been a member of the Order of AHEPA for many years. He served as District Governor in the Fifth District in New Jersey. In 2010, he was an instrumental force in re-organizing the Berks County AHEPA Chapter. On June 1, 2015, Gust was surprised at the 90th Anniversary Celebration of the local AHEPA Chapter when the Chapter was renamed Gust C. Kraras Chapter No. 61 in his honor. He was also a member of the Masonic Order.

He is survived by his children: Christ G., husband of Ann (Baxewanis) Kraras; Angel P., wife of Mauro D. Cammarano; and Patricia "Tula", wife of Bernard Donahue, all of Wyomissing. There are six grandchildren: Dean C., husband of Jennifer Kraras, Marisa C., wife of Scott Hunsicker; Andrew M., husband of Sophia Cammarano; Stephanie M., wife of Gregory Labe; Bernard N. Donahue, Jr. and Stavanna C. Donahue. There are also ten great-grandchildren: Mackenzie, Peyton, Christopher and Delaney Kraras; Tommy, Christo and Gram Hunsicker; Isabelle and Joseph Cammarano; and Jack Labe; all who will miss him very much. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews both in the United States and Greece. Three sisters-in-law: Joanne Dialectos, Christine Dialectos, and Anna Koumaras also survive him.

Gust was predeceased by five siblings: John, Vasiliki, Elias, Eleni, and Maria.

Services will be held Wednesday, May 9, 2018, at Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, 1001 East Wyomissing Blvd., Reading, PA 19611, at 12 p.m. Burial will be at Charles Evans Cemetery. A viewing will be held Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the church. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church at the above address. Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, Inc., West Reading is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be recorded at www.kuhnfuneralhomes.com.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Dr. Len Marrella speaks at Reading AHEPA Chapter Charter Night Dinner


AHEPA Chapter 61 President Dr. George J. Giovanis, left, with guest speaker Dr. Len Marrella.
Dr. Len Marrella, U.S. Army Colonel (Ret.), founder and president of the Center for Leadership and Ethics, was the guest speaker at the Charter Night Dinner hosted by the Gust C. Kraras Chapter No. 61 of the Order of AHEPA. Dr. Marrella spoke on the topic of “The Power of Character.” The dinner, which also celebrated the Reading chapter's 93rd anniversary, was held on Thursday, April 12, at The Crossroads Family Restaurant on Route 61.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Reading AHEPA Chapter Serves Meals for 500

The Gust C. Kraras Chapter No 61 of the Order of AHEPA volunteered to cook the food for hundreds of visiting Greek Orthodox Youth Association (GOYA) members during a Metropolis of Pittsburgh Basketball Tournament hosted by the Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church GOYA in Reading, Pa., over the Presidents Day Weekend.



Thursday, February 1, 2018

February Service Project for AHEPA Members

Dear Brothers,
 
With the month of February upon us, we need to focus on a major service project benefiting the youth of our Church community.  Our Reading Goya is hosting the Metropolis Regional Basketball Tournament on February 16, 17 and 18.
 
We have been asked to provide a service and prepare a Saturday dinner (Feb. 17th) and a Sunday brunch (Feb. 18th) following Church services for all participants.  We expect to serve over 350 participants including players, coaches and chaperones.  Please mark your calendar to help out with this major undertaking with food preparations on both Saturday afternoon/evening and Sunday.  More details to follow including times for both Saturday and Sunday’s events.
 
Sincerely and fraternally,
George Giovanis, President
Order of AHEPA, Chapter 61

Sunday, December 17, 2017

AHEPA Chapter 61 Hosts Holiday Pancake Breakfast

Members of the Reading AHEPA Chapter prepare the Holiday Breakfast.

Thumbs up from an appreciative guest at the annual Holiday Breakfast sponsored by the Reading AHEPA Chapter.

AHEPAN Jim Rohm serves orange juice as hungry parishioners line up for the Holiday Pancake Breakfast.

Members of the Gust. C. Kraras Chapter No. 61 Order of AHEPA served a pancake breakfast to parishioners at Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017. The event coincided with the rehearsal by Sunday School children for the annual Christmas Pageant held at the church. More than 200 meals were served.

Monday, December 4, 2017

In Memorium: Frank T. Petrakis

Frank T. Petrakis passed away on Sunday, December 3, 2017, in the Mifflin Center, Reading. His loving family was by his side. Born in Reading on February 16, 1935, Frank was the son of Stephen and Georgia (Patsourakos) Petrakis.
He was educated in the Reading schools and served honorably in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1956, during the Korean Conflict.
Frank forged a successful career in residential and commercial construction and was the proud owner/operator of Construction Management Inc., for more than 20 years.
Frank was a lifelong member of Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church, where he served for decades on the Parish Council. A constant presence in the church, Frank contributed countless hours to the operation of the church and its facilities. Anticipating and executing any task that was required, Frank worked behind the scenes with tireless dedication to ensure the integrity of the church and its events.
He was a longtime member of the Gust C. Kraras AHEPA Chapter No. 61 in Reading, having been inititated into the Order of AHEPA in 1975.
A great fan of classical music, Frank was also a longtime follower and supporter of the Reading Symphony Orchestra.
He will be greatly missed by his family, his friends and his entire church community.
Frank is survived by his son, Stephen A. Petrakis, husband of Ann, and granddaughter, Samantha, the "light of his life." Also, sister, Mary, wife of Stavros Flamporis, of Cherry Hill, N.J., and nieces, Georgia and Athena Flamporis. In addition, Frank leaves behind devoted friend and mother of his children, Victoria Petrakis; faithful cousin, Spiro Apostolou, as well as an extended family of cousins and friends.
In addition to his parents, Frank is predeceased by his beloved son, Michael, with whom he is now reunited.
Family and friends may extend their sympathy and respect on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, from 11:00 a.m. until 12 noon at Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church, 1001 E. Wyomissing Blvd., Reading, PA 19611.
The funeral service will begin at 12 noon, followed by burial at Charles Evans Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church, or to the Reading Symphony Orchestra.
Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, Inc., West Reading, is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be recorded at www.kuhnfuneralhomes.com.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

AHEPAN George Zeppos Honored with Rising Star Award by Greater Reading Chamber

George Zeppos is pictured second from the right. Photo by Ben Hasty/Reading Eagle
 George Zeppos, a prominent Berks County restaurateur, and a member of the Reading AHEPA Chapter, was recently recognized by the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance with its Rising Star award, given out each year to business leaders under the age of 45.

Check out the article in the Reading Eagle:

5 receive Chamber's Rising Star award | Reading Eagle - MONEY: They are honored during a banquet at the Berks Country Club.

Greater Reading Chamber Honors AHEPAN Jason Hornberger with Rising Star Award

Jason Hornberger is pictured second from the left. Photo by Ben Hasty/Reading Eagle
Jason Hornberger, a business banker with M&T Bank, and a member of the Reading AHEPA Chapter, was recently recognized by the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance with its Rising Star award, given out each year to business leaders under the age of 45.

Check out the article in the Reading Eagle:

5 receive Chamber's Rising Star award | Reading Eagle - MONEY: They are honored during a banquet at the Berks Country Club.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

AHEPA Members Volunteer at Greek Food Bazaar












All members of the Gust C. Kraras AHEPA Chapter No. 61 are asked to volunteer this coming weekend (Oct. 20-21-22, 2017) at the 47th Annual Greek Food Bazaar at Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Reading, Pa. As you can see from these photos, many chapter members have been working hard in preparation for the annual church fundraiser. Help is needed throughout the weekend festival.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

AHEPAN Gust C. Kraras featured in the Reading Eagle

Our very own Gust Kraras was the subject of a recent article in the Reading Eagle:
Greece native served the U.S. there during World War II | Reading Eagle - NEWS: Reading man shares his experiences last week at the Berks History Center in Reading.