James, also known as Andre, was the beloved husband of Joan, and father to Debra, James, Richard and Gary. He and his twin sister, Crystalitsa, were born in Athens, Greece in May 1931. His mother, Sophia, died in childbirth and his father, Harilibus, left them in the care of their grandparents, Mercedes and Demetrius, and their aunts and uncles to start a new life in Africa. James and Litsa survived two wars (World War 2 and a civil war where the communists tried to overthrow the Greek government) and on occasion had to crawl under bullet fire to get food for his grandparents. His grandparents also hid a Jewish mother and son in the back room of their apartment when Greece was occupied by the Germans and Italians putting them all at risk of death or a work camp. After the war and trying to survive in Greece, he decided to venture forth to fulfill his dream of living in America. He boarded a cargo ship as a seaman and eventually, after many ports, arrived in Baltimore, alone and with little money. He managed to locate the family of a friend and was blessed by this family, who had a Greek relative in Clifton Forge, Virginia who owned a diner and gave him a job. He was also blessed by a local family who allowed him to room in their home and were caring enough to help him improve his English. After a year he contacted a great aunt, Erie, who lived with her blind sister and niece in Flushing, New York. He again was lucky enough to find a job and with the help of an attorney and his secretary who befriended him. He went to school at night to get his license as a cosmetologist. During this time he met his wife, Joan, who was working her way through college. They married in 1954. After her graduation, Joan took on two jobs to allow James to obtain his diploma and license sooner. Within three years, they purchased their first home, gave life to their daughter Debra, and opened their first salon in Brentwood, NY. James was definitely what you would define a mover and shaker to be and was, in many ways, ahead of his time. He moved forward and in ten years he owned a chain of salons known as Andre's, two of which were in major malls. In addition he opened a retail professional beauty supply outlet and an art and frame store in Smithhaven Mall and at the same time investing in real estate. One thing that is most important to remember about him is that he would, and in many different ways, be willing to extend a helping hand when he saw a person or family in need. He was not only a man to remember for his accomplishments in business, but because he also helped many employees and tenants to start a new and better life. May he rest in peace and God bless America the land that he loved.
PLEASE If you desired to send flowers it would be appreciated if instead of flowers donations were made, in memory of James, to The Tisch MS Research Center of NY
To send flowers to James' family, please visit our floral store.