Mary (Baladakis) Ballas
95 years old, in Elk Grove CA, August 19, 2012, peacefully and naturally with her family at her side.
Born March 22, 1917 in Hannah, Wyoming, beloved daughter of George K Frudakis and Kiriaki Kourkoutaki. Mary was the oldest of 4 children, preceded in passing by Sam, Tony, and Angelo. After graduating from High School, she accompanied her parents and siblings to Chania, Crete where, on March 4, 1935, 3 hours after meeting the love of her life, she married Vasilios (Bill) G Baladakis Ballas. They were married for 65 years until his passing in 1999.
Mary was partners in the Ballas Pastry business with her husband and two brothers-in-law. She also worked as a translator in collaboration with the INS, helping fellow Greeks to obtain their citizenship after World War ll. Mary and Vasilios sponsored over 30 displaced Greeks, helping them to assimilate to the US. Her home was open to all and she fed and clothed hundreds of people over the years.
Mary was the quintessential coal miners' daughter, living in Hannah, Wyoming, Wheeling, West Virginia, and South Bend, Indiana, before ending up in San Francisco, where her first job was at the 1939 Golden Gate Exposition.
She belonged to the Greek Orthodox Church, Emimenides Chapter, Pan Cretan Association of America, Philoptohos Society, and the Daughters of Penelope. In addition to her philanthropic endeavors, she had numerous hobbies and interests, including a love for art and music.
Mary is survived by her children Koula (Demetris) Rozakis, Alexia (Lefteris) Kavros, Bill Ballas, and Mari (Matthew) Ward, grandchildren Kathy (Don) Craighead, Peter (Mavra) Rozakis, Mary (Tony) Maragakis, Steven (Elli) Kavros, Maria (Paul) Leones, Vaso (Scott) Jones, Demetra (Manolis) Alexandrakis, Bill (Jennifer) Kavros, Nickola (Erik Curtis) Ballas, Christopher Ward, and Mariana Ward, 18 great-grandchildren, 5 great-great grandchildren, and numerous beloved nieces and nephews.
Mary gave back to the world through her volunteer and charitable work both locally as well as globally. She was always for the underdog especially when it came to children and was always the first to step forward when someone needed help or was hungry.
The family wishes that we all celebrate her long dynamic life on the next path of her journey.
Friends may visit Wednesday August 22, 2012 from 6pm and are invited to attend the Trisagion at 7pm and the Funeral Service Thursday August 23, 2012 at 11am ALL at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 999 Brotherhood Way, San Francisco. Burial will be at Greek Orthodox Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, San Francisco, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church of San Francisco and Vitas Hospice, Sacramento.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Aug. 21 to Aug. 22, 2012