Areti P. Sakellaris was born in Vassara, Sparta, Greece, on Feb. 22, 1922, and passed away peacefully on July 19 at the age of 96 in Braintree. She was surrounded by all four of her four children, along with some of her grandchildren and other relatives.
She was married for 72 years to the love of her life, Panos Sakellaris, who passed away in 2013 at the age of 98. She is survived by her loving and devoted children and their spouses, Pota Pappas of Sharon, Helen and Peter Canellos of North Quincy, George and Cathy Sakellaris of Milton and Arthur and Vasiliki Sakellaris of Milton, along with her 11 grandchildren, and her 14 great grandchildren.
Areti defined her life with devotion to her family and to her church, embodying the idea of a true grand matriarch. During the Greek Civil War she experienced extreme hardships, not only due to the tumultuous political climate, but also due to her husband being forced back and forth between home and the warfront, and the responsibility of raising four kids. Instead of losing hope or withering in this time, she instead became the foundation of strength and love for her immediate family, and the generations to come. Despite not having finished elementary school, Areti understood the importance in education, and instilled such a value for knowledge and education in her children, not for the purpose of personal gain, but to help one’s family and others. Above all else, she prioritized and taught that family and church come first, a dictum that has passed from generation to generation.
Areti did not preach these morals, however. She ingrained such values into her children through her own work-ethic, toughness, and unconditional love for her family. Never once did she complain, instead forging on to take care of her children during the most violent era of the 40s and early 50s in Greece. This care for others was not centered on her family, however. In conjunction with the teachings of high morals in the Greek Church, Areti’s desire to help others extended beyond her family. She prioritized philanthropy, and consistently went out of her way to help others, giving food to those in need even when she herself did not have much, and offering a helping hand to others around the village. She played an instrumental role in motivating her family and others to help in the construction of the new St. Catherine’s Greek Orthodox Church in Braintree. Even in later years after she and her family had moved to the United States, these codes of hard work, selflessness, and familial love and devotion showed themselves in her lineage, her children and grandchildren going on to find their own successes, but doing so for familial loyalty and compassion. Being good to one’s family meant being a good person of high integrity and high morals. Most of all, she taught her children that they could achieve anything they wanted if they set their minds to it. However, she not only taught them the road to success, she taught them the most important reason to seek success: to be good people.
Visiting hours will be Sunday at St. Catherine’s Greek Orthodox Church in Braintree, 119 Common Street, Braintree from 4:00 to 8:00pm. The funeral service will be held Monday morning, July 23, at 11:00am at St. Catherine’s Church, with internment to follow at Milton Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Areti’s memory to St. Catherine’s Church. Arrangements were completed by the Keohane Funeral Home, Quincy.
See keohane.com for online condolences.