My father was a man of few words, so I will try to follow his lead. On the one hand, that’s enormously difficult to do, given a lifetime of wonderful memories. On the other hand, only the highest superlatives apply.
My father was a great man - by that, I mean he was a good man, a decent man, a kind, caring, and loving man.
A first-generation American son of Greek Asia Minor immigrants, he was “old school” in the best sense of the phrase. He believed in doing the right thing, and in doing it well. The first in his family to attend college, he worked his way through Yale University. He built his own highly respected business as a civil engineer and land surveyor, through years of dedication, hard work, and integrity. He crafted complex maps in exquisite detail, computing the specifics in his head and drawing the results, masterfully, by hand.
He was a quiet man, but he enjoyed laughing over a joke. He was a gentleman, but he played tavli (backgammon) with competitive glee. He was reserved, but he executed Greek dances with beautiful grace. He was modest, but he was proud of his son and daughter, who he loved and encouraged in all our endeavors, and of his wife, who he loved and cherished in a marriage that endured for 57 years.
And he was always, always there for his family and friends, offering his love, help, support, and knowledge, with great generosity and without reservation.
My father taught me love by demonstrating his own love, steadily and reassuringly, over the years we were blessed to have him in our lives. I love you, Dad. You will live in my heart, in all our hearts, forever.
— Sophia Bilides
My father didn’t need a lot of words, but he listened really well and paid attention. This helped him act in a way that was helpful to those who turned to him, and many did, personally and professionally.
I learned a great deal from him, and my life’s path has to a great extent been paved by those lessons. If I had to sum up this education in just a few words, I would say faith, love, kindness, generosity, and integrity were foundation-level parts of his being.
His faith in God and love for his wife, children and family sustained him while nourishing us. He was unfailingly kind and generous to others, and also appreciated and honored the other denizens of our planet, such as the birds and trees of his home and work.
Finally, a crystal clear integrity permeated his day-to-day life, so that his part in the large and small dramas of life became acts of service. He actually was an extremely spiritual being, in a modest and often hidden way.
As he makes his way to rejoin the stars and the universe he left behind 80 years ago, I want to give thanks for having been born into his life, and acknowledge, also with great thanks and reverence, the many, many blessings he bestowed upon me and all whom he encountered.
— David G. Bilides