Chris P. Tomaras—whose stunning rise from Greek immigrant to the ultimate philanthropist and successful businessman epitomized the American Dream—died on Thursday, October 14, in Chicago, IL. Elaine, Tom and John Sotos, his dear friends, were at his side. He was 77.
Tomaras was born on Nov. 9, 1937 to Pavlos and Evdokia Tomaras in Piraeus, Greece.
Chris was the beloved husband of the late Nancy Tomaras; brother of Helen Tomaras Astin and the late Mike Tomaras. He is survived by his stepchildren, Michael (Carol) Winstead and Linda (Steve) Raye; his grandchildren, Kristi (JD) Weir and Niki (Donny) Burke; great-grandchildren Dylan, Michael, Alex, Jacob, Avery, and Elizabeth; nephew, Paul Gassel; and his dear family friends Elaine Takis Sotos; John (Nikol) Sotos and their children, Helene, Chrissa, and PJ; and Tom (Bessie) Sotos and their children, Panayiotis and Evelina; many cousins, nephews and friends in the US, Greece, and throughout the world.
Chris was well known as the founder of Kronos Foods, Tomaras Investments, and his dedication to many philanthropic endeavors, especially to the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation, which he founded in 1998.
The PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation fulfills what Tomaras dedicated his later life to: increasing the educational opportunities for Greek youth, developing future leaders, and contributing to American society as a whole. It also represents Tomaras’ idea of Hellenism, a way of life marked by patriotism, hospitableness, daring, courage, responsibility, high work ethics, personal integrity and respect for law—all of which is expressed in Greece’s history, culture, language, tradition and religion. “Mr. T” might as well have been describing himself.
Tomaras, a devoted Greek Orthodox Christian and Archon of the Order of St. Andrews of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, was also involved in and supported many organizations and groups. Among those, he served five two-year terms as vice president for North and South America of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (ΣAE); was a founding member of American Foundation of Hellenic Studies at Georgia State University; and was a member of the Board of Trustees of Anatolia College. He was a member of Leadership 100, a devoted Greek Orthodox Christian, and was a great benefactor of the St. Iakovos Retreat Center.
Chris Tomaras will be remembered for his love of Hellenism, entrepreneurial ingenuity, profound faith, extraordinary generosity, and devotion to friends, family and those in need.
Visitation Wednesday, October 21st from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home 6150 N. Cicero Ave. Chicago. Family and friends will meet Thursday morning October 22nd at St. Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church, 7373 N. Caldwell Ave. Niles for funeral service at 10:30 am. Interment Memorial Park Cemetery, Skokie, IL. By Chris’s request, kindly omit flowers. Memorial donations to the PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation 17 N. Wabash Ave. Suite 600, Chicago, IL 60602 would be appreciated. Arrangements by ADINAMIS CORLISS BALODIMAS Funeral Directors, Ltd. 773-736-3833