On January 13, 2020, local guitar legend and rock star Demetri Callas (ne Pantelis John Callas) passed away in Las Vegas, Nev., where he had lived for two decades. Although he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2016, he ultimately succumbed to heart failure.
Demetri was born in Frederick, Md., on June 7, 1942, to Anastasia (Anna) Chantiles Callas and John Pantelis Callas. Known locally by his early nickname of Penny, he was in the vanguard of the first rock and roll bands in the D.C. Metro Area. He first performed at local teen clubs, moving on to multiple nightclubs in D.C. and, eventually, to signing on with Columbia Records with his band Flavor. From 1970 - 74, he performed with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons as one of the Seasons, singing and playing the guitar. He was inducted into the Maryland Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2018.
To the delight of many who knew him in their youth, Demetri returned to the Frederick area to perform during the last decade. The crowd was thrilled to rock on with him as they did decades ago.
Demetri is survived by his loving children Maria Hamby, Diana Toronto (Patrick), Demetri J. Callas and Jason Allen Callas; his grandchildren Mitchell, Travis, Tyler, Jessica, Damoni, David and Melina; his sister Maria C. Papageorgiou; his nephews John Papageorgiou and William Papageorgiou; two aunts, Mrs. Victoria Overmiller and Mrs. Delores Chantiles; an uncle, Dr. Peter G. Callas; numerous cousins in the U.S. and Greece; his devoted pal Edward Kratzel; and his special lifelong friend, Kathryn Rice, and her children, Danielle Burkhardt and J.C. Rice.
His marriage to the former Elizabeth (Betsy) Warfield ended in divorce.
Following Demetri's wishes, there will be no services to mark his passing. However, there has been an outpouring of love and appreciation for his extraordinary talent and unfailing kindness online.
Published in The Frederick News-Post from Jan. 27 to Jan. 28, 2020.