Panagiota Dedes (born Ekonomou), aged 92 years, passed away peacefully on the early morning of 28 February 2023, in Long Beach, California, from natural causes after a long and fulfilling life. She was born in 1930, in Megara, Greece, and emigrated with her husband and 2 children to the United States in 1969.
Panagiota (also known as “Nota”) was a brave and amazing woman… and an avid storyteller, among other qualities that endeared her to many. The youngest of 4 siblings (3 sisters, 1 brother), she recounted stories of how she worked alongside her father in the fields of Megara as a child and young woman in support of the family’s agrarian living. She was a hearty and hard-working soul. As was customary for young women of her generation, she lived in her father’s (later her brother’s) house until she was married. And as the youngest among her siblings, she supported her older married siblings by helping them raise their children until she, herself was married. So, she formed a close and loving bond with all her nieces and nephews.
In 1961, she married a poor tailor and farmer from her home town, Panagiotis Dedes, by an arranged marriage as was customary at the time. Their families lived walking distance from each other and knew each other well. She and her husband had two sons, Georgios (“George”) and Vasilios (“Bill”). As was common among many of an agrarian background in her home town, life was a struggle financially and there were not many opportunities to better one’s lot in life. She was inspired by one of her nieces and her husband (also a tailor at the time) who had taken their young family and emigrated to the United States for a better life in 1967. Panagiota convinced her husband to do the same and in late 1969, with little money and no knowledge of English, the family emigrated from Greece to Southern California where a job as a tailor awaited her husband. She also went to work right away cleaning school buses. In later years, her husband, Panagiotis, opened his own tailoring shop and Panagiota (a trained seamstress) worked alongside him in a real “mom & pop shop” until they sold the store and retired.
As was her dream in coming to the United States, she sent both of her sons to college in the Los Angeles area and saw them enjoy successful careers and fulfilled lives. Her eldest son, George, had a rewarding career in loyalty marketing and the high-tech industry until his anticipated early retirement in late 2023. And her youngest son, Bill, founded a successful audio-visual services business, married and gave her two grandchildren which were her delight.
At the age of 82, she successfully fought a battle with breast cancer, although the cure took away her cherished independence and reduced her quality of life. But she lived another 10 cancer-free years, long enough to see her granddaughter graduate high school. Eventually, she succumbed to dementia and passed away of natural causes at the ripe age of 92, having led a very happy, fulfilling and accomplished life.
She is survived by her two sons, George and Bill, her daughter-in-law Maria, her beloved grandchildren, Pamela (Panagiota) and Christos, and her nieces and nephews.
For those interested in attending her funeral services, please find the necessary information below. Both services will be at St. John the Baptist, Greek Orthodox Church in Anaheim, California (address below):
Thursday, 9 March, 6:00 PM PST: Trisagion Service (viewing and wake) at St. John
Friday, 10 March, 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM PST: Funeral service & makaria luncheon at St. John
Friday, 10 March, 1:30 – 2:00 PM PST, Friday, 10 March: Graveside burial service at Magnolia Memorial Park
St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church
405 N. Dale St.
Anaheim, CA 92801
Magnolia Memorial Park
12241 Magnolia St.
Garden Grove, CA 92841
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a donation be made to St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in memory of Panagiota Dedes. Thank you.