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Loving wife, mother, and aunt; 86
TEWKSBURY -- Irene (Vonofortis) Gkolias, age 86, died Tuesday, February 19, at the Lowell General Hospital, Main Campus, following a brief illness.
She was the beloved wife for 59 years of John M. Gkolias, who died last April 25.
She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 28, 1926, a daughter of the late Triffon and Clara (Klidas) Vonofortis, and was raised in Detroit and later Dearborn, Michigan. Upon her marriage, she and her late husband operated the Vonofortis family restaurant in Dearborn for eight years. They moved east to Tewksbury in 1962, where they had remained.
Mrs. Gkolias and her husband were very active members of the Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in Lowell, where she was a member of the Transfiguration Ladies Philoptochos Society.
In her earlier years, she worked as a waitress at the former Branding Iron Steak House in Tewksbury for 18 years, and after the restaurant was destroyed by fire, she opened her home as a caregiver to children for over 20 years.
She is survived by her three devoted daughters, Connie, Freda, and Clara Gkolias, all of Tewksbury, with whom she resided; a brother-in-law, James Golias of Tewksbury, a niece, Mary (Golias) Pavlakos and her husband, Nick of Astoria, NY; many special relatives and friends; and was also mother of the late Mark J. Gkolias, who died in 1988.
The family extends a special thank you to Nick Manolis, Joe Burtt, Buzz Pignato, Harvey Sullivan and his family, Josephine Connors, Dr. Stephen Travers, M.D. and his entire staff, Dr. Scott Sigman, M.D., the V.N.A. of Greater Lowell, and the staff of both Lowell General Main Campus and Saints Campus, for their care, attention, and kindness shown to their mother.
GKOLIAS -- of Tewksbury, Feb. 19. Irene (Vonofortis) Gkolias, age 86, beloved wife for 59 years of the late John M. Gkolias, loving mother of Connie, Freda, and Clara Gkolias. Visiting hours are Monday, February 25, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Tewksbury Funeral Home, corner of 1 Dewey and 975 Main Sts. (Rte. 38) TEWKSBURY CENTER, phone (800 in MA or 978) 851-2950. Her funeral will begin Tuesday, February 26, at 9:45 from the funeral home, followed by a Funeral Service at 11:00 a.m. in the Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church, Clark St. Lowell. Burial will follow at Tewksbury Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Manolis Family Foundation, 1067 Lakeview Ave., Dracut, MA 01826 or the Greater Lowell V.N.A., 336 Central St., Lowell, MA 01852, will be appreciated. tewksburyfuneralhome.com
Published in Lowell Sun from Feb. 24 to Feb. 25, 2013