The sudden passing of Mr. Mario Couros, 82 years of age, occurred at his residence on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 in Humboldt. Mario was born on May 8, 1930 to Mihali and Konstandina Kourogiorgas in Astros Kynourias, Greece. His formal education came to an abrupt end in the second grade when schools in Greece were closed near the beginning of World War II. At the age of 14, Mario joined the volunteer Greek Army and fought against Greek Communists who were attempting to take over Greece. In 1950, he was drafted into the regular Greek Army. During his three years of service he attained the rank of corporal as a military policeman. After his honourable discharge he decided to go on an adventure. On December 14, 1957 Mario arrived at Pier 21 in Halifax, was processed and was put on a train that landed him in Regina five days later. Arriving with $15 in his pocket and not much else other that the light clothing he was wearing, the winter weather was a shocking surprise! His first job took him to Moose Jaw where he was a dishwasher. After four months, he moved to Saskatoon where he was first employed at Golf's Restaurant on 2nd Avenue. While a salad maker there, he spent most of his off-time working with the chef to learn the trade, without pay. He soon was promoted as a chef at Golf's. On November 12, 1959, Mario married the love of his life, Mary (Kalomira) Bezbes, in Saskatoon. Shortly after they were married, Mario and Mary moved to Swift Current to run a restaurant. Eleven months later, they came back to Saskatoon where Mario worked as a chef at the Executive Hotel and Golf's Steak House. In August of 1966, Mario and Mary moved to Humboldt where they leased the Pioneer Motor Hotel restaurant with their partners, Chris Papagiorgeou and his wife Sophie. The days were long, many being 18 hours, and sometimes to regain his energy, Mario would have an afternoon nap on a piece of cardboard on the storage room floor. In December 1972, Mario's dream of owning his own restaurant materialized with his purchase of the Ohio Café on Main Street. The business, Mario's Steak and Pizza House, flourished. This became a family business with everyone helping when needed. Mario took pride in his food, and people still talk about his pizza, steaks, ribs, and the famous 'Greek Club.' After he sold the restaurant, Mario found he had a creative streak. He spent time in his shop working on art projects like woodworking and stain glass. He also loved the challenge of taking things apart and putting them back together. He was a lifelong learner, so he made sure he was the first to get a new electronic gadget. He thoroughly enjoyed the last gadget, his iPad. Mario was a very social, giving and caring person who assisted at fundraisers and was always ready and willing to help and have a few laughs. In the last years of his life, Mario joined the Royal Canadian Legion Humboldt Branch #28. Mario volunteered tirelessly for the organization and on January 23, 2013 was awarded the Lifetime Member designation of which he was extremely proud. Greek traditions were very important to him and he instilled them in his family. Mario took his family to Greece a few times so they could appreciate their heritage. After the passing of his only brother, he realized the importance of siblings and wanted his children to always love, support and stay bonded with each other. His life was complete when the grandchildren started to arrive, which made him very so very happy and full of pride. His grandkids absolutely loved being around their papou, and this time provided Mario with some of the happiest moments of his life. The Mario's Restaurant trademark will always remain special in the community of Humboldt. Mario will be lovingly remembered and sadly missed by his wife of 53 years Mary Couros of Humboldt; four children and ten grandchildren; Tina (Costas) Tzoganakis of Waterloo, ON and children George, Evangelos, Maria, Kassiani and Ioannis; Michael (Brenda) Couros of Saskatoon and children Marina and Nicholas (Telessa); Alec (Claudia) Couros of Regina and children Mary, Marinos and Sophia; and George Couros of Edmonton, AB; three sisters: Soula, Eleni and Marika all of Greece; Mary's family: sister Jean (Gus) and brother Peter (Tina) in Saskatoon and sisters Athena and Athanasia of Greece and all of their families. Mario was predeceased by his parents Mihali and Konstandina Kourogiorgas and brother George. A Prayer Service will be held on Sunday, March 31, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. from Malinoski & Danyluik Funeral Home, Hwy 5 East Humboldt. A Funeral Service will be held on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 10:00 a.m Koimisis Tis Theotokou Greek Orthodox Church (1020 Dufferin Avenue) Saskatoon. Both services will be officiated by Rev. Fr. George Tolias. Interment will follow at Humboldt Public Cemetery (Legion Section) following the funeral service with a memorial luncheon at the Canadian Royal Legion Hall (Main Street south) Humboldt. Memorial donations in Mario's memory may be directed to Royal Canadian Legion (Humboldt Branch #28), the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and/or the Koimisis Tis Theotokou Greek Orthodox Church. Funeral arrangements are entrusted to MALINOSKI & DANYLUIK FUNERAL HOME Humboldt 682-1622.
Published in Saskatoon StarPhoenix on Mar. 30, 2013.