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Pete Colyvas


1931 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Pete Colyvas Obituary
Pete Colyvas
October 31, 1931-June 27, 2014
San Jose, California
Pete Colyvas passed away on Friday June 27th, 2014 at the age of 82 surrounded by his wife of 52 years, Doris; his three children and their spouses, Kynthia (Chris), Steve (Maria), Jeannette (Joe); his granddaughter, Ellen; and his nephew and niece Stefan and Kathy Kolivas. He died peacefully in San Jose. Fr. Ion, a family priest, from their parish of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, read prayers with his family at his bedside. Pete is survived by his devoted wife, children, and five grandchildren, Ellen Furgis, Peter Furgis, George Furgis, Peter Colyvas and Nicolas Colyvas.
The great-grandson of a priest, Pete is remembered as a man of reverence for God, character and limitless discipline. He was an overcomer. Maya Angelou wrote in Still I Rise, "Just like moons and like suns. With the certainty of tides. Just like hopes springing high. Still I'll rise." Born into poverty and oppression, Pete rose to become an accomplished businessman in America. A survivor of the harsh occupation of Nazi's on the island of Chios, Greece during WWII he opposed every war on the grounds that the children would suffer and they had nothing to do with it. He was committed to his Greek heritage and active in his Greek Orthodox Church, usually in the kitchen where he cooked for decades for Greek festivals. He often told his children Greek sayings and they would later learn came from the scriptures like Proverbs 22:22, his favorite, "agoraze ala min poulas" which means literally purchase truth but don't sell it; but in context of Proverbs 23:23 it denotes take in information but don't sell it meaning "don't gossip." Most noteworthy was his generosity. He loved to do for others, to give to others and to help others. His hobby was his family.
As a restaurateur since 1957, he began humbly as a dishwasher working night and day saving up to start a restaurant with partners. They did so in San Jose, opening Monterey Steak House in 1959. In 1960 he opened Pete's Steak House on North First Street with his first cousin and business partner, Pete Thrappas and ran it for 28 years.
He was a servant leader. He enjoyed serving people, in his occupation and personal life. He loved to serve his family, his church and friends. At a restaurant, when a bill came he fought for it. He led his children by example of good habit; waking up early, praying in the morning, a disciplined lifestyle and enjoying work. He loved working in his restaurant, enjoyed greeting customers with enthusiasm and a sparkle in his eyes and a smile. After he and his partner sold the restaurant, he worked in the family business which involved apartment management, until he was hospitalized. He said I will stop working when I pass and that's what he did.
Wednesday night visitation is at 6:00 and Trisagion services are at 7:00 at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at 1260 Davis Street in San Jose. The funeral service is at 8:30 at St. Nicholas, the burial is at 10:00 at Oak Hills Mortuary and makaria lunch is at 11:30 at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox church. Those who cannot make the early funeral services are encouraged to attend the makaria lunch. In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the Fr. John Assimacopoulos building fund at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 1260 Davis Street, San Jose CA, 95125 or the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute and Library at 2311 Hearst Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709.
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on July 2, 2014
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