James Plato "Jimmy" Pappas, was born in Flushing, New York on the 28th of November 1959 to his parents Plato and Tessie Pappas. He departed from us on the 10th of September 2011, after a 14 month battle with Lymphoma. Jimmy faced cancer with a tremendous amount of courage and strength and he fought desperately for life, an example to his children, family and friends.
Moving with his family to Houston in 1967, Jimmy graduated from Memorial High School, was Texas A&M University, Fightin' Texas Aggie Class of '81 and obtained an MBA from St. Thomas University. He was a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Texas.
First and foremost, Jimmy was a dedicated husband to Monique and father to Cia and Plato. He was incredibly proud of his family, his greatest joy. We know that Jimmy's biggest regret was that he would not be here on earth to see his kids grow up. We know that he is looking down upon us now and will be guiding from above while the rest of us struggle here on earth.
As the son of a developer he shared stories of when he was young, bouncing around in the back of his father's jeep as they toured the yet to be developed Woodlands. It was those beginnings that lead him to his passion for development, working to make life better for the communities and the people in them. His work was instrumental part of a number of well-known Houston master planned developments, including New Territory, First Colony, City Center and most recently, Spring Trails.
Jimmy worked hard and brought a contagious enthusiasm to everything he did. He always gave back and was active in the American Society of Civil Engineers and The Urban Land Institute. He served his church as a member of the Board of Trustees of the church. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Utility District Advisory Corporation, an advisory body to the Municipal Utility District industry, a board member of Fort Bend County Municipal Utility District No. 35 and a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Spring Valley.
No matter what aspect of his life, he touched all with his unique engaging character, contagious excitement and understanding of not just our world, but the people within it. He has left us with a good and honorable pattern to follow. He would say that it was "no big deal", but with a mischievous grin you could see he was happy to make the world a better place for so many. His indelible mark on our community's past and future will be with us always.
While examples of Jimmy's generosity abound, he was most proud of his work with the Steer Auction Committee of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which raises money to support kids who work hard and bring their prized cattle to show and sell. Not only did Jimmy raise money, but also had leadership positions, most recently running the Committee Awards Banquet while undergoing cancer treatment. He said, "I may not be able to make the Banquet, but I will get it done". Not only did he "get it done", he was there as well. He never stood taller than when he walked in the room that day!
While proud of his work, he knew what was really important; family, faith, friends, fun and giving back. His interests were curiously diverse. Whether it was racing offshore powerboats, scuba, hunting anywhere, fishing on the coast, cooking with the Dad's Club barbecue team and Greek Festival, driving his convertible, or waxing poetically about the social worth of lawyers, he did it all with passion and was always "all in".
Jimmy was preceded in death by his father, the late Plato Pappas. He is survived by his wife, Monique Pappas; children, Anastacia and Plato James; mother, Tessie Pappas; brothers, George and Gregory and their wives Annalee and Cynthia; mother and father in law, Sylvia and Rene Alanis; sister in law, Arista Alanis; brother -in-law Juan Alanis and wife Sonya; and 8 nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his aunt and uncles, Spiro and Harriet Pappas, Sotiri Pappas; and numerous cousins.
The family is eternally grateful to the entire staff at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and particularly to Drs. Sphall, Shah, Nates, Rahti, and the compassionate nurses and staff on the 11th floor and ICU.
Jimmy was a Man's Man, a true friend, a loving and selfless husband, father, son, brother and uncle, a dedicated leader, a Man that could always be counted on, and above all, a Man whose word was his bond and whose integrity was beyond reproach. He and his dad, Plato, have already started planning their next project. Rest in Peace.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from five o'clock in the afternoon until seven o'clock in the evening on Monday, the 12th of September, in the Jasek Chapel of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston, where the Trisagion Prayers are to commence at seven o'clock.
The funeral service is to be conducted at half-past noon on Tuesday, the 13th of September, at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 3511 Yoakum Boulevard in Houston.
The interment is to follow, via an escorted cortege, at Woodlawn Garden of Memories in Houston.
In lieu of customary remembrances, Jimmy's family would ask that you consider systematically donating platelets for cancer patients at MD Anderson Hospital, www.mdanderson.org/how-you-can-help, and register as a stem cell donor, www.bethematchfoundation.org; or kindly consider a contribution to establish a scholarship fund in Jimmy's memory, in care of Annunciation Orthodox School, Attn: Jimmy Pappas Memorial Fund, 3600 Yoakum Blvd., Houston, TX, 77006.
Published in Houston Chronicle from Sept. 11 to Sept. 13, 2011