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Polykarpia P. (Polly) Kollias

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Polykarpia P. (Polly) Kollias Obituary
Polykarpia (Polly) P. Kollias

AGE: 89 • Greenville

Polykarpia (Polly) P. Kollias, age 89, of Greenville, died peacefully in the arms of her children in the early hours of the blizzard on January23rd, 2016.

Born Polykarpia Papadopoulou in the mountainous village of Terpsithea Nafpaktias, Greece on November 11, 1926, Polly grew up in an all-female household and met her father who had emigrated to the United States, at the age of 21. Polykarpia was born to Charles J. Pappas of Elatou Nafpaktias, and Wilmington, Delaware, and to Marigoula Foukas Papadopoulou of Aspria Nafpaktias. Polykarpia's father owned the original Avenue Restaurant in downtown Wilmington, on Delaware Avenue where the PNC Bank Building is now located.

Polykarpia attended high school in Nafpaktos, Greece during the brutal German occupation of WWII, living under the auspices of her mother's extended family in a house used to quarter the German soldiers. In the village her mother would survive and support her two daughters by bartering durum wheat, eggs, chestnuts, noodles, trahana, lentils and goat milk, from hidden pens and storage units. Despite the great poverty and brutality that prevailed at that time, her father managed to send her the first wind-up phonograph to the village from Wilmington, Delaware as well as many postcards and RCA records from the USA. In 1943, when the Germans ransacked the poor homes in the village of Terpsithea, and pillaged the church, they left her home untouched because of the ties to the USA evidenced. After losing her older sister Vasiliki as a teen in a botched surgery, Polly went on to attend medical school at the University of Athens, one of the only females matriculating at that time. In 1947, after the wars, Polly and her mother Marigoula emigrated to the Unted States to be reunited with her father Konstantinos ('Charlie') in Wilmington, Delaware after two decades apart. Many families in Wilmington had also emigrated there from the same village region eventually establishing the Greek church.

In the United States, Polly earned a master's degree in biology from North Texas State University while learning English, and later began her career in hematological research at the Albert Einstein Research Center in Philadelphia, PA. In 1959 Polly returned to Greece for a visit and unexpectedly met her husband-to-be by hand of a matchmaker. Within a month, she was married to a doctor and war hero, Anthony V. Kollias MD, and they returned to start a family in Wilmington, Delaware, living with yiayia and pappou. Her husband eventually became director of the Medical Center, opened a private practice and made house calls until his retirement. After giving birth to her two children, Polly chose to support her husband's medical practice servicing Brandywine Hundred, with a special fondness for Claymont where the two offices were located.

Polly devoted her life to her husband, children and grandchildren, also to caring for her mother who died at the age of 99. She enjoyed participating in Greek Community affairs as a member of both the Daughters of Penelope and the Philoptochos ('friends of the poor') Charity Organization, and was a founding member of the Hellenic University Club of Wilmington. She spent time off driving her children and grandchildren to and from school, from ballet, jazz, tap dancing and charm schools, to music, tennis and Greek schools as well as school athletic events. Known for her hospitality, humor, quick wit, caring, and whiskey sours, Polly would cook her way into people's hearts and help her husband build his practice through her special blend of p.r.

Polly was pre-deceased by her husband of 50 years, Dr. Anthony V. Kollias, and is survived by her two children, Georgia N. Kollias and Basil C. Kollias, Esq., of Wilmington, Delaware, and four grandchildren: Michael and Anthony Daskalakis of New York City and Washington D.C., Kelly (Polykarpia) and Georgia C. Kollias, daughter-in-law Demi Kollias of Wilmington, Delaware, and son-in-law George Daskalakis of Athens, Greece.

The viewing will be held Thursday night 6-8 pm at the Chandler Funeral Home on Concord Pike. Funeral Service takes place at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, at 808 North Broom St., Wilmington, DE 19806, on Friday at 11 am, followed by interment next to her husband at St. Joseph's on the Brandywine.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Wilmington to be used by its organizations solely for visits and gifts of comfort for elderly parishioners confined to their homes.

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Published in The News Journal from Jan. 26 to Jan. 28, 2016
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