Helen Kostelas Georgilas, beloved mother, sister, grandmother, aunt, artist, choir member, co-worker, and friend to many, passed away Friday, May 31, 2013 in West Hills, CA. She was 90 years old.
Helen was born in Sedalia, Missouri, September 23, 1922, daughter of George and Mary Kostelas.
Helen's passion for singing enabled her throughout her life to contribute her vocal talents as an Alto to her church choirs and chorale singing groups in Los Angeles.
During the 1950's she was a member of the Byzantine Chorale under the direction of Frank Desby. The Byzantine Chorale was organized from the membership of the St. Sophia Cathedral Choir, and was formed for the express purpose of presenting music of the byzantine era whose antiquity dates back more than 700 years. During this timeframe, Helen was also a member of the Roger Wagner Chorale under the direction of Roger Wagner and she performed numerous concerts at the Hollywood Bowl. At the Hollywood Bowl, she performed the first west coast performance of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis conducted by Alfed Wallenstein, featuring the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Her voice can be heard on many recordings including the "Treasures of Byzantine Music", and "Sing a Song of Christmas" to name a few.
Helen worked in personnel departments at the corporate office of Rexall Drugs, on La Cienega Blvd. and the Broadway-Topanga Department Store, where she was employed for 18 years. She then aligned her career with Shape Magazine-Weider Publications as an Editorial Assistant. While an Editorial Assistant, she co-organized the first Shape Reader Model of The Year contest that ran successfully for many years and provided photos used in the magazine. Also, she contributed further by writing topical themed articles for Shape. As a Contract Assistant, she reviewed and finalized the many writer contracts that Weider Publications initiated through several of their magazines. She was with Weider Publications for 20+ years.
Prior to and upon retiring, she spent her time painting landscapes and enjoyed spending time in her vast flower garden. She also took pleasure attending the many different gardens throughout Los Angeles and Pasadena. She looked forward to every holiday celebration and sharing time with family and friends. Helen also enjoyed singing with her beloved church choir every Sunday at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and singing with her friends from the Byzantine Chorale.
Helen was married for 48 years to Professor Anthony Georgilas who preceded her in death on December 3, 2005. She is survived by her children: son Peter A. Georgilas and wife Johanna Georgilas, and grandsons Jason Georgilas and Evan Georgilas. Her daughter Ria Georgilas Valas and husband Andrew Valas, and granddaughter Eleni A. Valas, her brother Andreas Kostelas and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held Wednesday, June 5th at 6:00pm at Bastian and Perrot Mortuary, 18728 Parthenia Street, Northridge, CA, 91324. Funeral Services will be held on Thursday, June 6th, at 10:00am, at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 9501 Balboa Boulevard, Northridge, CA.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, in memory of Helen K. Georgilas.