HARILAOS GEORGE COSTIS (KOSTIS)
An exemplary loving husband, father, mentor and benefactor.
A legacy of devotion, ethics, optimism, tenacity, moral fiber and compassion.
Guardian of Justice and seeker of Truth.
Harry's existence help make my life what it is. Without Harry there would be no Athena to meet Ron. Without Athena so much fun, love and craziness would never have happened. I wouldn't have met Polly and Alex. Without Harry, three of my favorite reasons for being on this planet(Nikos, Colton, and Jesse) wouldn't exist! Harry, Polly,Athena, and Alex became family then gave us more family.
On 12/21/2013 you left the loving arms of Polly and Athena to the waiting arms of Alex. I know there were tears in heaven that day. Your road to reunite with Alex was a hard one. You were so amazing. You just kept on fighting.
Harry thank you for being in my life. Thank you for becoming family. You've meant alot to me and i will miss you.
Uncle Harry you have left a great void in the family.There is,nor will be anyone who cared for all in the family,wholeheartedly,as you have.
You truly loved your descent and origin.
It was obvious in everything you did and everywhere you went.
From Lefkas to Mani.
Iam eternally grateful for all your help.
You will stay in our hearts forever.
Dear Polly and Athena I share your sorrow and loss.
Rest in Peace
Harry is one of the main reasons we settled in the Fresno area and spent most of our careers at California State University, Fresno. He was the department chair who hired us and inspired us, the face of the department, the heart of the school.
Harry was a kind person who wanted the best for his students, his colleagues, and the community and was selfless in his support of us all. We will remember him fondly and with gratitude.
I will always remember Dr. Costis for his kindness, his generosity, and his sense of humor. It was an honor to have worked for him. I would like to express my sincere condolences to Polly, Athena and family.
Dear Polly, Athena and family, My prayers go out to you all. Harry was always so pleasant to be around, his knowledge and presence was incredible. I will never forget Harry...He will always be in my prayers.
Polly, Athena, and my nephews,
No words can express the true intentions of the heart in a time of great loss such as this one.
Each of you have your own special memories of Harry aka: Dad, aka" Pa Pou. Although it might not seem like much in the aftermath of Harry's passing, the memories you each hold dear to your heart will assist you in moving forward even when it seems an impossibility.
I will miss that man...he was sweet, very smart, very friendly, and very well versed in all things. I know he loved you dearly Polly. You were his Light. I know he also loved his children very much and was also very, very proud of their accomplishments.
I loved when we would gather on the holidays, I would look forward to seeing him there. He could be so entertaining. He had an interest in everyone and spoke to as many as was possible individually, checking on everyone's welfare. He took a great interest in my daughters pursuits of education and their personal interests.
I remember best the story he told us all about was those "cat naps" he'd take while driving. He spoke of it like it was something we all did...he sure had us laughing over one didn't he?
I remember when I first got the yellow Mustang convertible. He said I was sure to "get a boyfriend now" with that car. He said to not be surprised if a man followed me home one day after seeing a beautiful, blonde haired woman driving a convertible down the street with her hair blowing in the wind... Well, as of yet, that predication has not come to pass. Maybe he knows something still that I don't.
I also know that Harry missed Alex so much, just as the rest of you did. I still think of Alex often and see him smiling with that twinkle in his eyes. Who knows what the two of them are up to on the other side. Alex is probably busy showing his Dad the "ropes" on the other side. It seems like a very high probability to me.
I know Harry missed his birthday here by just a few days. On New Year's Day, I celebrated his birthday and honored his life by lighting a candle and having it burn the day through.
I was having a difficult time deciding what to put down in words, but now it looks like I've rambled aimlessly on...I do that a lot.
I want you all to know (Polly, Athena, Nikos, Cole, and Jesse Bear) that I am here for you in any way I can, standing by your sides through this time of deep sorrow and loss.
Know that I am loving you all now, and forever.
Harry put a valiant battle against a terrible enemy, Valley Fever. I only wish Medical Science could do more to prevent such a terrible disease. My sincere condolences to Paula and the rest of the family. At least now he will be back in his home land.
Ever since I was a small child in the village of Syvros my uncle Harilaos was the person I admired and aspired to be like him. He was a bright mind and a pioneer. He had a sweet character, kind and gracious manners and a love for humanity. He would stop in the street to talk to a small child with sweetness. He paid full attention and listened carefully to people from all walks of life, regardless of their age, education, wealth etc.
Everybody who knew him would speak well for him.
My teacher in elementary school used to tell me that in the beginning of his career he had Harilaos as a student. He told me how Harilaos was distinguished for his bright mind and his thirst for knowledge. This was in a time when access to books and knowledge was very limited, but still my uncle would ask his teacher for any available books. He would read even when riding the horse going to the fields to help his family.
He loved and helped his parents and siblings. He helped my late father Vangelis (his older brother) emotionally and economically at all occasions where circumstances were not favourable for him. My father loved Harilaos and his family very much. Whenever Harilaos and his family visited Athens he tried his best to please them. In the last 3 months of 2013 I lost two of the people I loved the most: my father Vangelis and my uncle Harilaos. I will miss them both.
Rest In Peace
I am so sad to hear of this original smart funny man's passing. He was blessed and well loved by his family and I am so fortunate to have his daughter as my friend.I wish to thank him for all he has done. I will miss our "Banter". Athena you are loved and a wonderful example to me of what a daughter should be. Paula I know how much you two have suffered. I pray that you can remember the gift that you gave instead of the loss that you feel. Love and prayers
I am a better person for having Harry and Polly in my life. I am fortunate to have a godson Named Colton who I wish I could see more. I am blessed to have the friendship of Athena and Ron and their three boys. I miss Alex and I will miss Harry or perhaps more to the point knowing that Harry is no longer amongst us. God bless all of you
My heart felt condolences. One is never prepared for the loss of a loved one. I hope God will show you the way to smiling again. He will live in your heart forever. Rest in Peace.
How fortunate I am to have spent the time with Harry that I did. What a sweet man with a strong spirit, kind face and gentle heart. I always loved hearing stories about Harry from Athena. They would make us laugh together. Memories are a true gift. Take time to cherish them. His hard working hands are at rest. May Harry rest in peace now with Alex. My sincere condolences to Polly, Athena, Ron, Nikos, Cole and Jesse. Love you all and I will always be here for you.
Sincerely with love,
Dear Polly, Athena & Family,
We are so sorry for your loss. Harry was a man that we truly admired for many years. It's never easy to lose a parent or spouse. It is as if the compass which has been guiding you is suddenly gone. We pray your memories of Harry give you much comfort in the days ahead. May his memory be eternal. God bless you all. Our love to you.
Polly and Athena,
As I knew few educators before becoming one, Harry has always been a champion and inspiration for my work. I admired the way he talked about his students, the way he held a zest for academic life close to his heart, and had an undying passion for life long discovery both in book learning and in cultural experience. He was an exemplar. Harry always: asked about my students, asked about my own growth as a learner, and posed thoughtful and meaningful questions that enriched my practice and made it more intentional. While many people inquire about the life of a teacher, I have seldom felt more supported and encouraged than in my discussions with him about it; he had the rare ability to both spark ideas and galvanize energy around intentional pedagogy. Athena, your own insistence and example that I go to college, that I do good and meaningful work, that I find something satisfying and humanitarian to dedicate myself to is only more evidence of the kind of man he was and the kind of family you created together. You have all been a powerful force in my life. Polly, as Brett and I have moved into a new part of our lives as newlyweds this year, know that your and Harry's union has and will continue to be a model of equal parts intellectual complement and true friendship. You have been an example to us.
Brett and I love you both very much and will do anything we can to solace your heavy hearts. Happy birthday Harry.
I was 15 when I first met Harilos, or "Mr. Costis" as I then called him. He was my best friend's father. From the moment I met him and through all the passing years, he along with Polly, graciously welcomed me into their home and family. He called me "Queenie" and was tickled by his own cleverness for coming up with this nickname. I was embarrassed at first, but his genuine care, warmth, and humor made me feel as if I truly were a queen.
At times, Mr. Costis could appear gruff, but he really was a teddy bear at heart. This surface demeanor would melt away with a joyful chortle as Athena leaned over to pinch his cheeks affectionately and tease him (as she incessantly did)! Mr. Costis clearly adored his wife, Polly, their daughter, Athena, and son, Alex - everyone could see this. But he also loved people in general. This was evident in the many Costis social gatherings, which always embraced a festive mix of people from all walks of life (culturally, socioeconomically, philosophically, etc.) I will never forget the colorful New Year's Eve/Birthday celebrations at the Costis home, which encompassed many different cultures, languages, generation, and types of music which all melded into a magical harmony where everyone seemed to enjoy one another. Personal differences did not matter in this environment. This magic was a product of both Harry and Polly.
Mr. Costis' zest for life, learning, and teaching others never seemed to waver, either. He did not want anyone to lie idle or waste even a moment that could be utilized to learn something new, something more important than ourselves. As Athena and I sat lazily watching soap operas one afternoon in our teens, Mr. Costis entered the room looking rather alarmed, exclaiming quite vehemently that we should not be watching such garbage. "You two should be reading Socrates or Plato!", he added. "Is he serious?" I asked Athena. "Oh, yes!" she replied.
I had not had the good fortune to see Mr. Costis as often over the past few years, but knowing that I will never again hear his wonderful Greek accent, see his kind and merry eyes, or be a captive audience to his stories and teachings, leaves me with an immense feeling of loss. He was, and is a significant part of my life, as are his wife and daughter. My heart goes out to you, Polly and Athena. Thank you for sharing him with me.
Harry, May your light shine on through the loved ones you have left behind.
Polly, I am so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to the family and all who were lucky enough to know Harry. His brilliance shines on through his beautiful and loving daughter as well as his amazing grandsons. I wish you whatever it takes to help bring peace to your hearts.
We are sorry for your loss, he is our loss too. However, we are going to miss the life of the party: his friendship attribute, the artful Greek dancer, etc.
We should rejoice, for his soul met its maker.
We love you all.
Our condolences to the Costis family. We have lost a Greek Historian . Eternal be thy memory. Georgia & Peter Georgiadis
Happy Birthday Harry!
There are many different shades of Love,
Some etched in stone to see;
And others muted like a fawn
Or seagulls flying free.
But every shade upon the Earth
Gives Man a chance to be
A better copy of himself
And changes "One" to "We."
Forever in my Heart.
We are deeply saddened. Our sincere condolences. Harry was a good man, a good friend and person who will be missed by all who knew him.
Bill and Ronna Mallios
Polly, Athena and family: We were very sorry to hear of Harry's passing and send our prayers and sympathy. He always had the ability to make others feel welcome and involved. And he was very proud of his family and his Greek heritage. He had a positive impact on others that will endure.
Dear Polly and Family – please accept our sincere condolences but also gratitude for bringing Harry into our life. It was only four years ago when Anna and I celebrated our 25 years in Fresno and at CSUF, and the central person of this celebration was our beloved Dr. Harry Costis - a friend, a mentor and my first Department Chair.
He who has been an immigrant himself understood like no one else stress, fears and anxiety of starting our life a new in a different country. For this family of Polish political immigrants he became like a substitute father and advisor. And since he knew so much about politics, economy and history I always found discussions with him emotionally recharging and intellectually refreshing. I will miss it dearly! We want you to know that Harry's big hart and wisdom touched our life and we will remember him forever.
Athena & Polly - We are so sorry for your loss. Harry was such a delightful individual with such a strong spirit; he will be greatly missed. We love the two of you so much and you are forever a part of our family, so you are not alone during this time. We are here for you. Peace be with Harry.
Dear Paula, Athena, and family my sincere condolences.
How fortunate I am to have spent quality time with Harry and Paula. You where there for me and my family when I was going trough my divorce and I am very thankful. Your kindness and generosity helped me to get back on my feet again. Learning so much from Harry to use for the rest of my life and to share with my 2 children. What a wonderful family. You will be missed and loved forever.
Very Dear Polly (Kalypso),
It has been said, "What we have enjoyed, we can never lose..."
Although you lost the presence of HARRY physically, men like him do not die ! They always live on through their abundant achievements, their unselfish teachings, their unbiased writings and in our memories.
Harry was a scholar of very rare and exceptional qualities who shared his rich and bottomless knowledge generously.
But, most of all, his traits and skills which merit recognition are those of honesty and grace, devoid of inhibition.
He excelled in helping the people, especially those new visitors arriving from overseas, that he was known as " the permanent Greek ambassador without portfolio ."
He kept his house always open to all Greek visitors and made them feel at home under the shades of his Parthenon and throughout his hospitality.
His friendship was a traditional asset.
His kindness was the best example of a true believer in mankind.
His patience was unlimited.
His sense of democracy and justice overshadowed the one given to us by our forefathers, the great Greek philosophers.
We heartfully thank you, Harry, one more time for waiting for our arrival before you closed your eyes for the last time. Once again, you enhanced the meaning of our deep friendship.
Friends like him can never be forgotten.
Since words seems inadequate to express his loss, we humbly feel that he was simply the uncontested example of a "True Greek Gentleman."
With Our deepest and sincere sympathy to you Polly and to Athena
Yiassou Harilae kai kalo taxidi
Dina and George Akel
Dear Costis Family - my sincere condolences to you and your family. May Harry rest in peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Dear Costis Family, you are all in my prayers and in my heart. Harry, such an intelligent and articulate man... I feel blessed to have crossed paths with you. Polly, your love for your husband shines ever so bright just as his will always for you, your daughter and grandchildren, just look up. It is a time to cry though everything will be ok. God be with us all. In peace with love, Cynthia.
Harry was a pleasure to meet, it is not often one crosses paths with such an intelligent and articulate soul. Reading his obituary I can only imagine his incredible life journey. His darling wife Paula was so gracious and loving with Harry in his last days, these people are rare. My very best of condolences to the Costis family.
Dear Paula and Athena I am so sorry to hear that my good friend and very respected member of our Greek Family at large Harry is no longer with us...I know that his legacy and his kindness will always be here and we are grateful for what he did and left behind for our younger generation to read and learn all about our heritage. Harry was one of a kind and I for one want to thank him for everything.. His memory will be eternal...
O THEOS NA TON ANAPAYSEI..Elias Tsiknis, Daly City, California.
Words cannot describe the void your passing has left in our lives. Harry, you were a teacher a mentor and a lifelong student. You were the best son, brother, husband, father and friend.
You took under your wing all the students that came from Greece you opened your heart & your house for all of them. You were a rock to so many!
We will miss you my friend, Kalo taxidi kai kali nixta!
Polly and Athena,
I share your sorrow over the loss of Harry, losing someone you love is extremely difficult. I hope that both of you realize how much you were an important part of making Harry's life such an incredible and fulfilled one.
Polly, you were a loving wife, companion, and caretaker to Harry over the past 50 years. For the last four years you made so many personal sacrifices to assure that Harry received proper care and remained comfortable in his own home as he battled Valley fever. Take comfort in knowing how important this selfless act was for Harry; you were his rock.
Athena, your dad is very proud of you and all that you have achieved. You have always showed so much love and care for him. He knew that the love and care you shared for him you also shared for your mom. Because of this he knew she would be well cared for when he was no longer able.
Harry was an amazing man. He
accomplished so much in his lifetime. He had a positive spirit and enjoyed life. Harry was an exceptional Dad, Pa Pou, and Father in Law. I admired him, loved him, and will miss him. Rest in Peace Harry.
The boys and I are here for you, we love you both.
He was a teacher that gave a poor student a break in life. I was the first one to graduate from a four year college on both sides of my family. We did not have a lot of money. So I had to work while going to school. I did not really know how to study and my skills were weak. But he believed in me and gave me a chance. I went on to develop the skills to graduate and become a teacher myself. If he had not given me his compassion for a student. I do not know how it would have ended. This was back in the sixties, before computers and copy machines. I thank him for his compassion and goodwill. Sorry for your loss. He was a good teacher and I shared the same compassion for my students. That he showed me.
My papou Harry Costis was a very good man. Sadly, he became very sick and died. We will all miss him very much. He was always kind to everybody. He always asked how I was doing, and we would all walk to the park nearby. He will always be remembered. R.I.P
Harry Costis, my grandfather was a great man. He had so much wisdom and knowledge that he would always share with my brothers and I. They weren't exactly the shortest stories, but they were always something to look forward too whenever I would see him whether they were stories from his past or stories about Greek mythology. Love him and miss him!
I'm very sad to hear this news.
You cannot spell the word Greek without the word Costis in the middle.
Paula and Athena I'm sorry for your loss.
"May his memory be eternal and may the four winds of the Ionian Pelagos carry him gently until the second coming of the Lord". It was but two weeks before his passing as I was visiting him at the Clovis Community Hospital where he gave me a detailed account of the last days of Alexander the Great. What a neighbor, what a treasure to have just a block away where I could drop in for some thoughtful advice. Harry or ?a???ae (in Greek) you left a vacuum in our lives. ?????a s?? ? µ??µ? pa??e µ?? ?a????ta, ?e?t??a ?a? a?e?tiµ?te f??e. ?p?st???? ?. ???t??p?????
I met Dr. Costis shortly after landing in Fresno from Greece in 1978. I was 15, away from my parents, and he was like a rock. From my first meeting with him I knew that this was a very wise man.
He was always the guide, mentor, sometimes the father we were away from. A truly great, remarkable man. We will miss you greatly, Harry. Although as humans we are sorry you are gone, heaven is much, much richer with you in it. Rest in peace.
Athena, Mrs. Costis, our thoughts and prayers are with you during this very difficult time.
Sandy Norlyn. I amsosorrybfor your loss. You are all inour hearts!
I know the pain of the loss of a parent. My heart is with you Athena.
Harry was a mentor to all generations. Kind,considerate and a loving family man.
So sorry to hear of the passing of Harry. He was terrific to work with, always bringing a sense of humor and enthusiasm. My sympathies to the Costis family. Joseph J. Penbera
He always put a smile on my face. What a warm, genuine, wonderful, husband, father, grandfather and friend.
So sorry to read of Harry's passing. He was a terrific person to know and to work with. My condolences to the entire family.
My love to Polly and Athena.We will remember him with pride.
What a wonderful man, so full of life. He will truly be missed. My love and prayers to you Polly and Athena.
Mrs. Costis, Athena and family - our sincere condolences on the loss of your husband, father and grandfather. May his soul and the souls of the faithfully departed rest in peace.
You and your wife Polly have been in our family for many years.
You, your wife Polly, daughter Athena and son Alexander(Thee great)- all have have been and are a great joy to us!
Your daughter Athena is the daughter of our hearts. You once said you were so proud when she learned to speak Greek at such a young age.
We share three grandsons Nikod, Colton and Jesse (good people in the making)
we will miss your enthusiasm when speaking of or to the young people in your life.
We all will miss you Harry! Much love goes with you!!!!!!
Loretta and Ron Dalton
Polly, our thoughts and many prayers are with the family. Harry fought a long battle and you at his side. We are here for you and Athena with love and many prayers.
Paul and Anita Chiames
Rest in peace dear brother. I owe you endless gratitude because you are the reason I succeeded in my life proffecionally' because if in summer 1948 you didn't come from Athens to Syvros, I wouldn't studied in Germany and became an Engineer.My best to Polly and Athena
I only met him once briefly, and I I still remember the conversation... a truly great man my condolences to you all
I am so sorry for your loss. What a brilliant man. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.
May the beautiful memories all of you have together bring you comfort and peace. He was an inspiring man who will be missed. May his memory be eternal.
Rest in peace, Dr. Costis. You were the best Greek teacher in the world. So good, I only needed one! O Theos einai mazei sou, panta! Until we meet again.
While I never met you sir, I knew your son Alex, and your daughter Athena. I'm sure their great qualities were inherent largely due to your example. God Bless you on your journey. Jim Gonzalez
Love you so much Pa Pou. Missing you and all of your great qualities already. You were intelligent, you had a great sense of humor, and you are someone who I look up to with out a doubt. Pa Pou, you had the full package and it's a shame that you didn't get to see the day when you turned 86. (January 1st). I know that your in better place now and I will remember you until the day we will meet again. Love you.
I am so sorry for your loss. I have so enjoyed listening to Athena speak of her Father and what an amazing man he was. He was such a family man and so proud of his heritage and teaching his grandsons his legacy. He will live on through them. Grace to you all. Kathy Empringham
My condolences to the Costis Family.
I was out for a walk after dropping my car off for repairs. I went into a McDonalds and who do I find there, Harry. The couple of hours I spent with him that morning were amazing. He was so smart and his thoughts on history, politics and anything else we talked about stuck with me. God Bless you Harry I will miss you.
On December 21, my valiant warrior decided it was time to put down his sword and finally rest. He is now with my brother, Alex, and his brother, Vangelis hopefully sitting in a kafenion drinking an ouzo talking philosophy and politics.. He came to this country in the early 1960s with a thirst for knowledge and his accomplishments are extraordinary. He always was there to help anyone in need and he was the finest man I know. He took his last breath with my mom and I holding him; he was surrounded by love and he is respected by anyone who knew him. He was a professor, an author, a winemaker, a bee keeper, a dancer, a chef, a student for life ... he was everything, and I will miss him forever. I love you baba!!!