John C. Sacorafos, 82, a long-time Tiffin resident and retired Spanish professor at Heidelberg University, died at his home in Atlanta, Ga., Tuesday, March 27, 2012, with his wife Mary by his side.
He was born Jan. 21, 1930, in Athens, Greece, and emigrated to Detroit with his parents, Constantine and Athanasia Sacorafos, in 1946. A quiet, handsome and scholarly young man, he was Phi Beta Kappa at Wayne State University, Detroit, graduating magna cum laude. He pursued a master's and Ph.D. at University of Michigan.
John married Maria Vreska of Athens, Greece, Feb. 11, 1951. They were constant companions for the ensuing 62 years until his passing.
He waged a courageous, 14-month fight against pancreatic cancer, enduring the disease without complaint until it ultimately claimed his precious life. Family and friends remember John as a kind-hearted, friendly gentleman of great dignity and integrity. His ultimate gift was showing his family the true meaning of bravery. We will always remember his incredible strength and indomitable will to battle this difficult disease that took him from us far too soon.
He will be deeply and forever missed by his beloved wife, Mary, and his loving daughters, Tessie Zaczek of Higganum, Conn., and Anna Hovind of Atlanta, Ga. He leaves behind four grandchildren, Alexis Mary Hovind of Atlanta, Robert Benjamin Zaczek, Catherine Rose Zaczek and Stephanie Cassandra Zaczek, all of Pittsburgh; and one great-grandson, Asher Constantine O'Riley of Atlanta. He also is survived by his sister, Lola Souliotis and her son, Evan Souliotis of Ann Arbor, Mich.
Those who knew John will remember his gentle nature, his unfailing sense of humor, his generous heart and spirit, his love of travel, good food and drink, and his incredible green thumb. As a Heidelberg professor, he established the Spanish department's summer study abroad program in Madrid, Spain.
He was a teacher by profession, but his deepest loves, aside from his family, were gardening and photography. He never passed a nursery without bringing home a new tree for the garden. He coaxed spindly seedlings into hardy, beautiful plants, which he then photographed and recorded onto DVDs which he edited to music and shared with his family. He loved to spoil his grandchildren and grand-dogs with great affection; his lavish treats for the "fur kids" left them with thicker waistlines and happily wagging tails.
Our precious husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather was laid to rest at Floral Hills Cemetery, Atlanta, Ga., March 30, 2012.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Trees Atlanta.