1928 ~ 2012
Peter Stylianos Gamvroulas was born on May 19, 1928 in Honika, Argos, Greece, the third of six children, to the Reverend Father Stylianos (Papa Tellis) and Presvytera Maria Gamvroulas. It is indeed fitting that Panayiotis fell asleep in the Lord on the eve of the Feast of the Dormition of the Panayia, with a prayer on his lips, August 14, 2012.
He was a seemingly ordinary man, yet he lived an extraordinary life. Like others of his generation that grew up in a small village in Greece during World War II
, his early years were extremely difficult. He knew poverty, fear, and hunger. He also knew the Orthodox faith, courage, love, laughter, loyalty to family and friends, soccer played shoeless on gravel with a ball made of tied up rags, farming, how to roast a lamb, how to dance, and how to sing. His father taught him Byzantine music and trained his beautiful tenor voice, and his mother taught him unconditional love. He eventually left the village for adventure; he joined the Royal Greek Navy at age 19 and served as a chief petty officer for four years, and then at age 23 he became a police officer
in the Athens Police Department where he served honorably for seven years.
At age 29, he really wanted an adventure, so he boarded a ship in Piraeus, Greece, April 18, 1959, came to America with nothing but a suitcase and a few drachmas, eventually arrived in Utah of all places, met Tula Savas, and so began one of the world's great love stories. Pete and Tula were married (eloped to Las Vegas actually) August 21, 1959, and their 54 year marriage was a beautiful partnership. They were inseparable and completely dedicated to one another. Papou and Yiayia worked hard, raised three sons, built a home of faith and comfort where they maintained their Greek culture and Orthodox traditions, traveled the world, and cherished their eight grandchildren. Pete's greatest joys were, in order, his wife, his grandchildren, and his garden. Pete knew what was important; his riches were incalculable, he lived a beautiful and full life, and he passed with his entire family by his side. A truly blessed man.
Pete will be best remembered by the Greek Orthodox Parish of Salt Lake as the Chanter at Holy Trinity Cathedral, his voice gracing thousands of worship services for over 50 years. When Pete retired from chanting due to declining health, Holy Trinity Cathedral was standing room only. Generations of parishioners came to honor him for his half century of stewardship and to thank him for his comforting and familiar voice; an acknowledgment that touched him deeply and that he never forgot. It has been said that when Pete chanted he didn't just sing words and notes, but he sang prayerfully, knowing that his voice represented the voice of the congregation, but also his own prayers. He was devout in his faith, and his gift was special.
Pete is survived by his loving wife Tula; children Steven (Maria), Chris, George (Lainey); grandchildren, Peter, Eleni, Andrew, Pisti, Elpitha, Georgia, Magdalene, and Christaki; in Greece, his brother George and sisters Eleni and Pipitsa; and many loving in-laws, nephews, and nieces in Greece and America.
Pete was preceded in death by his parents, his best friend and brother the Very Reverend Christos Gamvroulas, and his beloved brother Haralambos.
A viewing service will be held at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 279 South 300 West from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Friday, August 17 with a Trisagion service at 7:30 p.m. The funeral will take place at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral Saturday, August 18th at 11:00 a.m. Interment at Mount Olivet Cemetery immediately following the funeral.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Pete's memory to the Hellenic Community Foundation, P.O. Box 521686, Salt Lake City, UT 84152-1686 care of the Holy Trinity Sunday School Classroom Fund.
"Well done, good and faithful servant."
AIONIA H MNHMH