Christian 05

Thomas C. Patukas

August 6, 1928 ~ October 23, 2022 (age 94) 94 Years Old

Obituary

Thomas C. Patukas died peacefully in his sleep Sunday, October 23, 2022 at the age of 94 at the Harrison House Extended Care facility in Coatesville, PA.  Arriving to wake Mr. Patukas that morn, staff there discovered that he had made a peaceful transition to the better place free from heartache and pain.  Mr. Patukas had been in failing health for the previous 13 months, suffering the long-term effects of Covid-19, although his cause of death was officially heart failure.

Thomas Charles Patukas was born August 6, 1928 in the mountaintop village of Homori, Greece, nestled in the wilds of Roumeli District in Nafpaktios Province.  Raised by his mother, Spyridoula and his paternal grandmother, Aphrodite; he had a loving childhood with his older sister, Theodora, younger sister, Ita, and the youngest brother, Peter.  Mr. Patukas spent WWII in that mountainous region evading Italian and Nazi occupiers and living hand-to-mouth through that difficult epoch, as well as the accompanying civil strife among various bands of guerrilla fighters known as “Andartes”.  During this period Mr. Patukas’ father, Konstantinos lived and worked in Coatesville, PA, faithfully sending money to support his far-away family.

Mr. Patukas and the others finally scraped together enough money to begin the arduous six-week long trek to America, arriving at last in Coatesville on January, 1947; where he would work for the next 40 years.  First, at The Famous Restaurant until he saved enough to purchase the business, the largest apartment building in town where the store was based, the downstairs retail operations, and finally founding the Center City Mart retail operation at 336 East Lincoln Highway.  Of particular note, prior to this, Mr. Patukas was with the U.S. Army when on March 24, 1953 he witnessed one of the last outdoor atomic nuclear bomb tests – this one in Yucca Flats, NV.  (Unsurprisingly, he suffered no ill effects.)

On June 24th, 1956, Thomas married Demetra G. Theodoropoulos of Harrisburg, PA, and for the next 67 years loved his wife totally and unconditionally, kissing her every night when either he or she put the other to bed.  Together they traveled the globe seeing Greece more than 25 times and restoring the Patukas family homestead, as well as travels to Hawaii, Jerusalem, Russia, Turkey, Crete, Florida, Wyoming, Alaska, Jamaica, Canada and select other spots.  One special accomplishment during the 1970’s was that Mr. Patukas served on a select local government charter commission for Coatesville, PA, that researched and designed a new local government program that changed the traditional Mayor-City Council system to a new, more efficient, less corrupt Home Rule Charter program that remains in place to this day.  Mr. and Mrs. Patukas had two sons, Konstantinos Thomas “Gus” Patukas born August 28, 1957, and George Thomas Patukas born June 12, 1960.  Mr. Patukas also has one granddaughter, Christina Demetra Charles, born December 29, 1995.  He was predeceased by his older sister, Theodora and his son, George.

Thomas C. Patukas is perhaps best remembered as a charming and irascible gentleman with strong opinions on everything from the Dallas Cowboys to the best varmint hunting rifles; global political affairs to federal, state and local government inability to “put people to work”, how A.J. Foyt was a better Indy car driver than Mario Andretti; how dressing well and treating women properly was just as important as providing for the family; and especially how it was every person’s obligation to “know your background, know where your family comes from, but understand everyone is an American – just like I’m a Greek-American”.

But he truly believed that at the end of the day, it was more important to be a solid citizen and solid family man.  He believed in the power of education for himself and his children, and made it a point that: “Without education and training, you will just have to work harder than everyone else,” concluding that “If I could break my back and do it, then they can too!”

He was at core a very gentle man who loved children, loved to spin tales, was a true charmer who even three days ago was flirting the staff at Harrison House.  He disguised his gentleness with a no-nonsense gruff exterior that could never ever suffer fools, but would truly give anybody who was willing the chance to work hard and prove they had what it took to make a difference.  He will be sorely missed by family and friends.

A visitation for relatives and friends will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, October 27, 2022 at the Harris Mountain Funeral & Cremation Service, 1030 E. Lincoln Highway, Coatesville with a Masonic service taking place at 7:45 p.m.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m., Friday, October 28, 2022 at the Episcopal Church of the Trinity, 323 E. Lincoln Highway, Coatesville. Relatives and friends may visit with the family from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Friday at the church 

Burial with military honors will be held at Fairview Cemetery, Coatesville.

In lieu of flowers, the family would request contributions to Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church 64 Hershey Avenue, Lancaster, PA 17603 or St. Sophia Orthodox Church, 900 S. Trooper Road, Jeffersonville, PA 19403.

On-line condolences may be made by visiting www.harrismountain.com.

 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Thomas C. Patukas, please visit our floral store.


Services

Visitation
Thursday
October 27, 2022

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Harris-Mountain Funeral & Cremation Service
1030 East Lincoln Highway
Coatesville, PA 19320

Visitation
Friday
October 28, 2022

11:45 AM to 12:45 PM
Episcopal Church of the Trinity
323 East Lincoln Highway
Coatesville, PA 19320

Funeral Service
Friday
October 28, 2022

1:00 PM
Episcopal Church of the Trinity
323 East Lincoln Highway
Coatesville, PA 19320

Donations

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church
64 Hershey Avenue, Lancaster PA 17603

St. Sophia Orthodox Church
900 S. Trooper Road, Jeffersonville PA 19403

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