Mike P. Cokinos

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  • "Mike made you feel like a life long friend the first time..."
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    - Neil Breen
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    - Hoffer Family
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    - David Harris
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    - Judy Hammond
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1920-2018 Brigadier General Mike P. Cokinos, AUSR, passed peacefully on to his heavenly father on Thursday, the 9th of August 2018, with his family by his side. Affectionately known as "The General", Mike was born in Beaumont, Texas on the 2nd of February 1920, to proud parents Elizabeth and Pete Cokinos, both immigrants from Greece. Growing up in Beaumont, Mike was an outstanding athlete, excelling in basketball, gymnastics and swimming. He graduated from Beaumont High School in 1937, thereafter working for two years before entering Texas A&M as a freshman. During his first year in Aggieland, Mike played on the basketball and diving team, and on the Fish Football team that scrimmaged against the 1939 National Championship Varsity Team. He was elected captain of the Texas A&M basketball team in 1942 and 1943, and was considered an outstanding player. Defensively, he held the leading scorer in the nation, John Sebek, to a season low two points during their meeting in 1942 with SMU. During his basketball years, Mike became known as the "darling of the court" because of his handsome looks, but was generally known as "Iron Mike" because of his "frantic hustle" and defensive prowess. When Mike graduated in '43, he was immediately sent to Fort Polk as a Second Lieutenant and then into combat in the Battle of the Bulge. Lieutenant Cokinos was a forward observer during the Battle of the Bulge, serving in the 8th Armored Division, attached to General Patton's 3rd Army. As a forward observer, his life expectancy was a matter of minutes during battle. Lieutenant Cokinos was a decorated soldier. He was awarded our country's 3rd highest award for gallantry in action, the Silver Star, during heavy fighting near the Rhine River during the Battle of the Bulge, when he directed artillery fire for over 50 hours and organized medical evacuation. When his commanding officer was wounded and lay unconscious in the battle field, he administered first aid and then put his helmet over his face and laid on top of him to protect him from mortar fire until the barrage slackened. Lieutenant Cokinos was also awarded a Purple Heart, a Legion of Merit, a Good Conduct Medal, and three battle stars. Upon surrender of the Germans, on occupation in Austria, he commanded the headquarters of the 324th BN 83rd Division. During his occupancy of Austria after the war, his primary duty was to supervise and control 100,000 displaced persons. One of his proudest accomplishments was assisting the liberation of a number of Polish concentration camps. In 1947, General Cokinos organized Company "H", 143rd Inf. Regt. He joined the 90th Inf. Division in 1956 as Bn. Commander of the 17th Artillery Bn., where he held this command until 1964, when he assumed Command of the 2nd Brigade, 90th Inf. Division. Upon deactivation of the 90th Inf. Division, General Cokinos was appointed Chief of the Plans Division, 75th Maneuver Area Command. General Cokinos graduated in the first Non-Resident U. S. Army War College course in 1970. He is also a graduate of the Resident Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas in 1961. He completed the Communist Strategy Course, Washington, D.C. and attended the Special Warfare Course at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. He was active in Civic work as a former Lt. Governor of Kiwanis International, Past President of the Metropolitan Y.M.C.A., Chairman of the Military Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, and Past President of the St George Greek Orthodox Church. The Governor of the State of Texas appointed him as a Commissioner Battleship Texas Advisory Board. His non-military life was equally special, and he took great pride in his family. He married the love of his life, Katherine Pontikes, in 1952 and they had seven children, five boys and two girls. Raising his family in Beaumont, Mike remained active in many civic activities, as well as being a devoted member of St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Port Arthur. He was instrumental in the formation of the Texas A&M Letterman's Association and was acknowledged as a distinguished alumnus by his beloved Texas A&M University in 1996. Mike was also honored with the Lettermen's Lifetime Achievermnet Award in 2014, and earned a long list of other Univeristy accolades, including being elected as a member of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets Hall of Honor. Mike is survived by his wife of 66 years, Katherine; his seven children and their spouses, Maria (Cokinos) Pappas and her husband Christopher, Michael Cokinos and his wife, Rhonda, Paige Cokinos and his wife Ellen, Gregory Cokinos and his wife Page, Elyse Cokinos-Stevens and her husband Rocky, Kevin Cokinos and his wife Adonia, and Christopher Cokinos and his wife Jill; along with 24 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Friends are cordially invited to a visitation from five o'clock in the afternoon until seven o'clock in the evening on Monday, the 13th of August, at St. George Orthodox Christian Church, 5311 Mercer Street in Houston, where the Trisagion Prayers are to immediately follow. A funeral service is to be conducted at eleven o'clock in the morning on Tuesday, the 14th of August, also at St. George Orthodox Christian Church. Interment is to follow, via an escorted cortège, at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery, where Military Honors will be rendered. Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a makaria luncheon at a venue to be announced during the service. In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions in honor of General Cokinos be directed to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Expansion Fund at 3511 Yoakum Blvd, Houston, TX, 77006, or online at:http://www.agoc2017. org/pledge/ Mike was a true patriot, great father, exceptional husband, devoted Orthodox Christian and leader of many people. Indeed, a proud member of The Greatest Generation.
Published in the Beaumont Enterprise on Aug. 12, 2018
Arrangements under the direction of:
Geo. H. Lewis & Sons Funeral Directors
1010 Bering Drive | Houston, TX 77057 | (713) 789-3005
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