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George J. Mulopulos


1930 - 2020
George J. Mulopulos Obituary
(News story) George J. Mulopulos, dedicated in spirit and deed to his parish, whose family-founded downtown cafe won wide acclaim for its chili, died Wednesday in his West Toledo home. He was 89.

He had lung cancer, daughter Dorrie Papademetriou, said.

Under the watch of Mr. Mulopulos and his wife, Ann, their longstanding business, the State Cafe on Monroe Street, caught on with downtown diners, who returned for more - more of the secret-recipe chili; more of the Coney Island hot dogs and hot roast beef sandwiches; more of the bean soup or Friday-only clam chowder; more of Mrs. Mulopulos' carrot cake and blueberry pie.

His father and uncle, John and Peter Mulopulos, opened the business early in the 20th Century on the site of what became the Commodore Perry Motor Inn. They moved in 1922 to Monroe Street and at first had five pool tables and two barber chairs, The Blade's John Grigsby reported in 1984. Soon after Prohibition ended in 1933, they got a liquor license, which remained in the family.

The younger Mr. Mulopulos worked in the business while attending the University of Toledo; after his military service; after receiving an associate degree in electrical engineering from what is now Owens Community College.

"Family businesses always need you," his daughter said.

Then, in 1977, some customers encouraged the couple to enter a best chili contest conducted by The Blade's Sunday magazine.

Their chili - which featured cumin, paprika, chili powder, and tomato juice - finished second, and that was good enough.

"Suddenly new people started swarming into the place," Mr. Mulopulos told The Blade in 1984. "Many of them said they had just gone by before and never realized what we had."

The couple expanded the dining area, and every seat often was occupied during lunch, Mr. Grigsby reported.

The State Cafe closed in July, 1984, the building razed to make way for SeaGate Convention Centre.

The couple couldn't find a suitable location to reopen.

"It was a bit difficult for my parents at the time. It was everything for them," their daughter said. "We definitely would run into people all over town, and they would say, 'Hey I remember State Cafe. When are you opening again?'"

Afterward, for about a decade, Mr. Mulopulos did remodeling for a home improvement company.

He was a mainstay of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in North Toledo. He served on parish council. Retirement gave him more time to paint, repair, and pitch in. He coached youth basketball.

"George was one of those quiet people who would do anything behind the scenes, without seeking recognition," said Andy Petros, who also has served on parish council. "He did everything out of his heart."

Jerry Biernacki, a former parish council president said, "George was a very devout and humble man."

Mr. Mulopulos also helped friends and neighbors with household repairs.

"You didn't have to ask him to do something. He would see it, and he would do it," said Debbie Paterakis, a parish member who grew up with his son and daughter and had been a longtime neighbor.

"He was just good people," Ms. Paterakis said. "He was quiet, until you got him talking. It's not that he didn't have opinions. I wish you could see my smile when I'm thinking of him. The best thing was he was a good neighbor and followed his faith - do unto others as you would have them do until you."

He was born May 15, 1930, to Theodora and John Mulopulos. He was a graduate of DeVilbiss High School. He was an Air Force veteran and served in North Africa as a Signal Corps staff sergeant.

Surviving are his wife, the former Anastasia Savvas, whom he married Sept. 4, 1960; son, Peter Mulopulos; daughter, Dorrie Papademetriou; brother, Sam Mulopulos, and two grandsons.

Visitation will be from 3-8 p.m. Friday at Ansberg-West Funeral Home, with a Trisagion service at 7 p.m. Funeral services will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday in Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

The family suggests tributes to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

This is a news story by Mark Zaborney. Contact him at [email protected] or 419-724-6182.
Published in The Blade on Feb. 14, 2020
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