Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Inspiring Leader, True Hellene
CHRIS P. TOMARAS
November 9, 1937 to October 14, 2015
Chris P. Tomaras—whose spectacular rise from Greek immigrant to successful U.S. businessman and dedicated philanthropist epitomized the American Dream—died on Thursday, October 14, in Chicago, IL. By his side were his dear friends Elaine, Tom and John Sotos. He was 77.
Chris Tomaras’ early life in Greece and America was full of challenges. Yet his ingenuity, tenacity and resourcefulness enabled him to overcome the obstacles and lead a full and productive life.
One of three children born to Pavlos and Evdokia Tomaras in Piraeus, Greece, young Chris came into a world torn by civil war. Mr. Tomaras’ father, who his son described as “a simple but wise man,” was a political activist whose retaliation against the brutality of the opposition resulted in tragedy when stray machine-gun fire, meant for his father, killed his mother in 1946. Chris was 8 years old.
Overwhelmed with grief at the loss of his mother, who Mr. Tomaras described as “the sweetest and gentlest of human beings,” he forged ahead to continued his education in Drapetsona, the town where the family lived. Fortunately, his father remarried, for there were three young children to care for, Chris, younger brother Mike and sister, Helen.