Ann N. Pappas nee Nicholson

Deceased: December 20, 2012

Service Information:

Visitatiion: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 4pm until 9pm
Funeral Service: Thursday, 10am at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church 10301 S. Kolmar St. Oak Lawn
Interment: Evergreen Cemetery


Ann N. Pappas nee Nicholson, Masters Degree from the the University of Chicago
Public school teacher for 38 years. Beloved wife of Nicholas J. Pappas.
Loving mother of Charles (Patricia), Philip (Ana Lucia) and James (Domenica)
Dearest grandmother of Nicholas, Tiago, Marcelo, Amanda, Michael and Victoria.
Dearest sister of the late John (Marie) Nicholson and
fond sister-in-law of Freda (Kurt) Meyer. Fond aunt and friend to many.
Visitation Wednesday, December 26, 2012 4:00pm - 9:00pm at Lakeview Funeral Home 1458 W. Belmont Ave. Chicago, IL 60657.
Funeral Service 10:00am Thursday at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church 10301 S. Kolmar St. Oak Lawn, IL 60453.
For information 773-472-6300 or
In lieu of flowers, donations to The American Cancer Society 225 N. Michigan Ave.
Ste. 1210, Chicago, IL 60601 would be appreciated.
Interment Evergreen Cemetery


December 26, 2012


It is very difficult to briefly sum up an entire person's life and accomplishments in a short period of time but, as time passes we will reflect more clearly on the legacy of our mother. We will see her image and influence reflected in her children and grandchildren and in our memories of her.

Last week as the cycle of the seasons changed and first snow of winter fell, our mother passed away. Maybe she was being poetic, or maybe she just didn't want to face another Chicago winter or maybe she did not want to deal with the end of the world on December 21, the next day. Although she was constantly
surrounded and comforted by her family,her quality of life gradually deteriorated during the last few years.

Gone were the days when she was young and experiencing the identity crisis of a child of immigrants and trying to help fulfill her parents hopes for the American dream. But her success in overcoming life's challenges will remain with us as a lasting legacy.

When my mother was a young girl growing up during the Great Depression she helped her mother and father, a World War One veteran, study for their citizenship examinations and find work with the Works Progress Administration. She remembered her parents returning the free government peanut butter since Greek people did not eat it and weren't sure what to do with it. She helped her mother send used clothing and shoes to less fortune relatives in Greece and some still have fond memories of receiving those goods.

When she was in high school working in a store bagging groceries, a boy who worked with her and was her friend told her excitedly about the University of Chicago and how he was going there. Following this spark of imagination and with the help of her journalism teacher and others who pushed her into the University track, she eventually received a master's degree from the University of Chicago.

She married in the period after the Second World War and became a member of the Greatest Generation, and was in her prime from the Big Band Era through the transformations of the sixties and on into the telecommunication and computer age. She remembered saving metal coat hangers and scrap for the war effort and using ration coupons for food. More tragic was the loss of her young friends who lost their lives in the war.

She was an intellectual who loved reading everything from gossip on the royals to fiction and weighty historical and political texts. She had a remarkable memory
for names, facts, trivia and obscure data. No one could ever believe how she had the patience to complete the Sunday New York Times Cross Word Puzzle, one of her favorite pastimes. It has occurred to me though that it did not really require patience at all, since she completed it so rapidly.

As a retirement activity, she studied Portuguese on a weekly basis and was enthusiastic about using her knowledge of Brazilian culture on her trips to Brazil and with her new and exciting Brazilian relatives.

She delighted in using her knowledge to help her students during the 38 years she served as a Chicago public grammar school and reading teacher. She taught hundreds of young students at Bradwell, Ray, Disney and other schools during her career.

She was an old school teacher who captivated her students and exposed them to what lay beyond their neighborhoods and the limits of their minds. She taught the children of the famous and some who became famous. She fondly remembered having a show and tell that included Jesse Owens' Olympic medals and experiencing the thrill of watching many of her students become successful and noteworthy. I remember going on field trips with her class and even winning a prize on the Bozo's Circus Show.

Teaching children to read was her passion and just as she read to her children at home, she read to her students at school. She read them everything from the Wind in the Willows to Truman Capote and I know that they benefited from it

because many of her students are my friends today. As with her students at school, she took an interest in and helped her own children with their education.

One of her hobbies was cooking and entertaining and since she had three sons we all helped her and became her assistants. I fondly remember watching The French Chef with her after we got our first television and how we would duplicate some
of Julia Child's most complex creations. She prepared lavish private dinner parties, and some more public, including her famous Thanksgiving Dinners that kept growing. The food was so good that the only invitations refused were through death or divorce. Finally the affair got so big that it had to be moved since her house was too small.

My mother was always self sacrificing and hard working throughout her life. At the same time she was always humble and stoic in the face of life's difficulties. During her life though, she always retained a witty and wonderful sense of humor.

My wife Ana says she was the ideal role model for a mother in law, never meddling, never judging, and never prying. "I hope I can be like her and reach that ideal, but I don't think I can, I will try", says Ana.

She was rewarded for her hard work and sacrifice by the fun things in her life, a wonderful family with grandchildren that she loved and that loved her, lifelong friends and relations, and a long and exciting retirement. Her retirement included reading, entertaining, theatre, cinema, concerts, traveling, and the joy of being a grandparent.

When my mother was a child her parents could only dream of returning to visit Greece to see their families and loved ones. In those days when travel was costly and time consuming they could only communicate through mail. After my grandparents immigrated they sadly never saw their families again.

Fortunately, my mother was able to travel back to Greece in her parents stead and rekindle those relationships. Not only did she embrace our wonderful relatives and enjoy the beauty and summer sun of Greece, but she opened those relations for her children and future generations.

She loved traveling and enjoyed joining her children and grandchildren on trips to Europe, Brazil, and Greece. She also helped form a travel group called the Milwaukee Five, who were fellow teacher friends who traveled together throughout the United States, Central America, and Canada.

At a service for a friend's mother who passed away, he said of his mother that in her final days she was surrounded by her family and bathed in love. That stuck with me and I am very glad that this is how my mother's final days were spent.

The old biblical proverbs say, "May her memory be a blessing" and "May her memory be eternal", we will miss her.

Philip Pappas

December 24, 2012

I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your mother. She was a fantastic woman and created a wonderful family. My family's thoughts are with you.
Keith Lord