Eugenia A. Ahlas
December 13, 1949 - January 1, 2021
Longtime Resident of Berkeley
Eugenia A. Ahlas (née Mousalimas), beloved wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, cousin, aunt, niece, and Godmother, peacefully left this earth after embracing a prolific and generous life. Known as "Lolly" to her family, she was loving, intelligent, hospitable and kind hearted, a fashion icon who treasured the worlds of art, literature, and Byzantine history. She was passionate about her Greek Orthodox faith, her family, and her granddaughters.
Eugenia was born in Oakland, California to the late Andrew and Mary (Kumarelas) Mousalimas. She was the second of five children and is predeceased by her brother, Andrew and her brother-in-law, Takie Ahlas. Eugenia enjoyed growing up in the Ascension Church, and was involved in Sunday School and Greek dancing before she attended the University of California at Berkeley, graduating with a degree in Art History, focusing on early Christian and Byzantine Art. She was accepted into law school, but her love of art and design directed her on a different course for which she would later be recognized as an icon in the industry, one that integrated her passion for art and design with business.
Her love of art and fashion quickly elevated her as an expert in design style. She helped launch the first Yves Saint Laurent boutique at I. Magnin and later, at Neiman Marcus. Her fashion style and choices were legendary in the haute couture world where her consulting and buying expertise were renowned. As noted in an interview with Eugenia at Paris' Hotel Ritz which appeared in Fashion Lives Magazine, she inspired a fashion executive to proclaim her as "The Goddess of Yves Saint Laurent" following the debut of Alber Elbaz's autumn collection of Rive Gauche. The interview also appeared in The Hellenic Journal, and featured the cultivated path her career and life had taken. Her elegance and grace were often captured on the social pages of the SF Chronicle or Nob Hill Gazette, among others. Additionally, she will be forever remembered and recognized at the de Young Museum for her relationship with Yves Saint Laurent.
In the early 70s, Eugenia met the love of her life, the dashing George Ahlas, and after a short courtship, the two married in 1975. Together, they spent more than 45 years together, raised two sons, and enjoyed traveling to France or New York for her business trips, and La Jolla or Hawaii, where they loved the sun and swimming. Eugenia always credited George with being her rock, and her greatest support, one who encouraged her to continue to reach for each opportunity in life. As a result, she learned ballet as a young mother, performed in local productions, and continued to dance through her adult life.
Eugenia was a gracious hostess, artist and a diminutive but mighty champion of higher education and politics, never missing, especially this last November, an opportunity to vote. She was a devout Orthodox Christian and had a special affinity for Russian Orthodox Churches and literature and could often be found honoring the relics of St. John Maximovitch in San Francisco. She often traveled to England, Russia, France and Greece to support her brother, Dr. Sotiros Mousalimas, during his many theological conferences and symposiums. Eugenia's help was key when she assisted her mother, Mary, in her extensive and dedicated effort to save the first Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption (Dormition) in Oakland, CA. In 1979, Eugenia and her Art History professor at UC Berkeley recognized the Classical design of the building which met the criteria for architectural and cultural significance and allowed the church to be moved for preservation to its current location at 928 Castro Street. It is a designated Oakland Landmark and listed in the U.S.A. National Register of Historic Places as well as a California Historical Landmark.
While Eugenia's interests were varied, intellectual and accomplished, her greatest loves were her family. She was a loyal and devoted wife to George, and a fierce champion for her sons, Harry and Andrew. She was equally loving and devoted to her nephews, nieces and Godchildren and could often be found hosting their friends in her home in Berkeley. She passionately encouraged their pursuits of higher education and careers. She welcomed her daughter-in-law, Victoria, into her family and adored her two granddaughters, Anna and Valerie. Her happiest accomplishment was that she was able to spend her final Christmas with them. She will remain in their hearts, forever.
Eugenia was a beautiful, strong, independent and loving presence who touched the lives of many. She is survived by her husband, George, her sons, Harry (Victoria) and Andrew Ahlas, her granddaughters, Anna and Valerie, her sister Paula (Dean) Gassoumis and brothers Sotiros Mousalimas, James (Diane) Mousalimas, her brother-in-law Lambro (Helen) Ahlas and many beloved nephews and nieces. Due to Covid-19, Funeral Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family appreciates memorial contributions to the Eugenia Ahlas Memorial Scholarship Fund or to the Ascension Greek Orthodox Cathedral General Fund, c/o Ascension Cathedral, 4700 Lincoln Ave, Oakland, CA 94602.
For further information please call, Harry W. Greer, Funeral Director (FDR-745). View the online memorial for Eugenia A. Ahlas