John Syka Funeral Home, Inc.
833 Kennedy Drive
Ambridge, PA 15003
(724) 266-2150
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1921 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
James Pappas, age 95, of Harmony Township, PA, passed away peacefully after a remarkable and fully lived life on September 10, 2017, at the Masonic Village of Sewickley, PA. He was born December 28, 1921, in Weirton, WV, the son of Thomas and Martha Pappas. James,"Jim," to most, spent his early childhood in Mckees Rocks, PA, growing up on Helen Street. In 1930, Jim's family, including two sisters, moved to the First Street area of Ambridge, PA. After graduating from Ambridge High School in 1941, Jim worked at the Bethlehem Steel facility in Leetsdale, PA. A proud member of "the Greatest Generation" (indeed, an emblematic constituent of that fabled group of Americans who went to war literally to save the world), Jim served in the US Army during World War II from 1943 to 1945, receiving five battle stars for participating in major offensives in the European Theater as a member of the legendary 2nd Armored Division's "Hell on Wheels;" he saw action in Normandy, Northern France, Rheinland, Ardennes, and Central Europe. His unit was the first American troops to enter Berlin, after the fall of Germany, in July, 1945. Jim was awarded the Distinguished Unit Badge, European, African, Middle Eastern Theater Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and Good Conduct Medal. Honorably discharged from the military, Jim worked at Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation ("J & L"), in Aliquippa, PA, from 1946 to 1953. Then, in 1953, Jim entered the restaurant business by becoming a partner in the Ambridge restaurant, the K & N, until 1963. After ten years at the K & N, Jim, with his wife, Joyce at his side, a true partner, embarked on a second restaurant venture in 1963, the Maple Restaurant, on Maplewood Avenue in Ambridge. This Beaver County landmark establishment still thrives today, having served tens of thousands of customers over the years, and enduring as a fond gustatory memory for mmany area people, including those who have moved away from our area but always make the "Maple Pilgrimage" when visiting, usually to sample the Maple's signature hot beef sandwich. The Maple still flourishes after 54 years because of the Jim Pappas business model: good, filling food in ample portions, in an operation run by people who get to know you and whom you get to know also. Jim and Joyce made the Maple hum but still worked into their formula personal contact, friendship building, and, with Jim, especially, dispensing of, if not wisdom, thoughtful consideration of your concerns. If you ate once at the Maple, your face was known; by your third visit, your name was in the Pappas memory bank (Jim's son, Tom continues this approach daily). Until quite recently, Jim "made an appearance" at the restaurant regularly, taking meals at a table near the kitchen door, and warmly greeting people he had know for decades, or just a few weeks. Though the restaurant profession leaves little time for outside activities, Jim participated in church and fraternal lodge activities and also enjoyed the annual First Street reunions, to get together with folks from the old neighborhood he had known since childhood; he was also a voracious reader, of especially history and science. Jim was a member of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Ambridge, Masonic Lodge 701, Ambridge (49 years), he was a Charter Member Beaver Valley Chapter 400 Order of AHEPA, and a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 1365, Ambridge. In addition to his parents, Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Joyce; sisters, Julia Vasilopoulous and Eulia Paleos; and beloved grandson, Nicholas Pappas. Jim is survived his son, Thomas Pappas and daughter-in-law, Charlotte, daughter, Stella; grandchildren, Joyce Das, (Dibya), of Dayton, Ohio, James Pappas, Fred Pappas (Samantha), of Ambridge; and great-grandchildren, Sophia, Silas, and Alayla. He is also survived by sister and brother-in-law, Mary and John Bungas; nephews, Mike Bellas (Bernadette), John Bungas, Emmanuel Bungas; and nieces Joanne Vasilopoulous and Pam Bellas Karrer; also by cousins, Dr. Nick (Susan) Fallieras, of Tampa, FL, Nicholas Fallieras (Mary), of Columbus, OH, Kathryn Kakias, of Hopwell, PA; as well as hundreds of dear friends in the area and around the country; and his best friend, Earl Cole, of Ambridge. Visitation hours will be held at JOHN SYKA FUNERAL HOME, 833 Kennedy Drive, Ambridge, PA 15003, (724)266-2150, Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 1-8 p.m. and Thursday, September 14, 2017, 1-8 p.m. Church services will be Friday, September 15, 2017, at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Ambridge, at 2930 Beaver Road, 15003, The Masonic Services will be held Wednesday, September 13, 2017, at 6:30 p.m., at Sykas Funeral Home, Ambridge, AHEPA Services Wednesday, September 13, 2017, at 7:00 p.m., and Trifagion Services September 14, 2017, at 7:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Ambridge, at 2930 Beaver Road, 15003. The Pappas family wishes to thank the staff of the Masonic Village Home for the compassionate care given to Jim during the last weeks of his life.
Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Sept. 13 to Sept. 14, 2017
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