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Helen Rigopoulos Sotiros


1919 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
Helen Rigopoulos Sotiros Obituary
Sotiros, Helen Rigopoulos SAN DIEGO Helen, affectionately known to family as "Lekos," passed away peacefully on January 27, 2014. Born in San Diego, CA on April 18, 1919, she lived there all her life. She was married for 26 years to John James Sotiros, who predeceased her in 1972. Helen was one of four children of Thomas Rigopoulos and Theodora Vosiniotis Rigopoulos, a founding family of the Greek Orthodox community in San Diego. She and her sisters and brother -- Elizabeth Theodorelos, Bessie Christian, and Peter Rigopoulos -- grew up in the communities of Logan Heights on National Avenue, and in North Park on Dale Street. Helen cherished her many lifelong friends from those days. On March 3, 1946, Helen married John James Sotiros, a native of Chicago. During the course of their marriage, John owned, operated and expanded the Rigopoulos family business (T R Produce) after Thomas Rigopoulos retired. Helen was the business' bookkeeper for many years. Helen graduated from San Diego High School in 1937 and St. Joseph's Business College in 1938. During the war she worked for Convair, and after her marriage managed the family properties. Helen and John lived in Normal Heights on Illinois Street, in Talmadge Park on Lucille Place, and in Del Cerro on Overlake Avenue. After John's passing, she lived in Del Cerro, San Carlos and in Chula Vista. She loved her native San Diego, watching it grow and investing in its future. She was a great Chargers and Padres fan. Helen had a beautiful sense of style and took joy in its expression. She enjoyed selecting new clothes for herself and others, and finding just the right new car. She oversaw the design and furnishing of the family home on Overlake Avenue in Del Cerro. She worked with her two brothers-in-law, architect Steve Christian and developer Zack Theodorelos, to design and build a very special home with unique beauty and practical design. She worked with her dear friend and interior decorator, Sophie Stephens, to decorate the home in her own style. She deeply loved the church and giving to others. She was a founding member of Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Cardiff-by-the- Sea, and of the Saint Helen Philoptochos Society where she served as treasurer for eight years. Her family helped found the first Greek Orthodox parishes in San Diego, and she served on the committee that raised funds for the new church in Cardiff. For 24 years, she worked all day for two days in the counting room of the Cardiff church's Greek Festival, offering her time and business talents to help ensure the festival's success, and for many months in advance, she would bake pasteries for the festival. She was active with the Women's Association of Salk Institute (W.A.S.I.), serving for many years on the Executive Committee of its Board of Directors. She also donated her time at Sharp Memorial Hospital, and delivered Meals on Wheels to seniors each week with her good friend Helen Chamberlin until she was almost ninety. Helen was a loyal member of "The Twelve," a group of friends from the church who formed their club in the 1950's and continued meeting monthly for over fifty years. Helen leaves three children, Dorothea Elaine Sotiros of San Diego, James Thomas Sotiros of Vallejo, CA, Anastasia S. Rechif (Richard) of Bonita; seventeen nieces and nephews, including Stephanie Scordelis of Saratoga (Byron), Tom Christian of Lafayette, CA, Patricia Guzik of North Dallas, TX, and Marie Alex of Vallejo, CA; two grandsons, Richard Henry Rechif, III (Sarah) of San Diego, and Stephen John Rechif (Antona) of San Francisco; one great- grandchild, Richard Henry Rechif, IV; and many cousins including Alex Rigopoulos (Jeanette) of La Mesa. Greek Orthodox Trisagion Services will be held on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 7 pm at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, 3459 Manchester Avenue, Cardiff-by-the Sea. Visitation will be held prior at 6:30 p.m. Funeral services will be held at Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 11:30 am. Following the ceremonies, she will be lovingly laid to rest at Greenwood Memorial Park in San Diego amongst family, friends and flowers. Contributions in her memory to either Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church or Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church are appreciated in lieu of flowers. She will be remembered for her loving devotion to her family and her church. May her memory be eternal. Arrangements are by Alhiser-Comer Mortuary.
Published in U-T San Diego on Jan. 30, 2014
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