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Stanley Neamonitis: A Great American success story (May 31, 1939 – July 16, 2016)

By on September 13, 2016

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Stanley Neamonitis passed away on July 16, 2016 surrounded by his family at his home in Manhasset, New York.

Born in the village of Avgonima, Chios on May 31, 1939, he was the fourth of five children and only son to John and Evangelia Neamonitis.

He and his family immigrated to the United States on July 28, 1951 when he was 12 and settled in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. He began working the very next day at his uncle’s fruit store. He attended Fort Hamilton High School and later Brooklyn College at night where he received his Associate Degree in Business Administration. He later took business classes at Baruch College in Manhattan while working as a clerk in a Safeway supermarket chain.

In 1957, Stanley joined the Quaker Oats Company in Manhattan as a trading clerk, a position that served as a stepping stone into a life-long career in international commodity trading. With the draft overhanging him, he enlisted in the United States Army in 1959 and dutifully served during the Cold War until 1961 when he was honorably discharged. Following his service, he continued a career in international metals trading that would span five decades.

He held senior trading positions at Associated Metals, Phillip Brothers, and Swiss-trading conglomerate, Glencore, traveling extensively throughout Canada, Europe, South America, Asia, Australia, and South Africa. He made friendships and built life-long relationships on every continent.

While he formally retired in 2001 to spend more time with his wife Litsa and two sons, John and Chris, he continued to work as a senior consultant, advisor and executive board member for numerous multi-national metals & mining companies, and as an active real estate investor managing properties in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

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“Growing up, John and I will never forget how eagerly we would wait for Saturday morning to arrive so that we could spend the entire day with him going to the cleaners, to the bank, to the candy store and to lunch at McDonalds or Roy Rogers,” says his son, Chris. “In our younger years, he would take us to our baseball or soccer games, hit us endless fly balls in the backyard or bring us to the driving range when we were just learning to play golf.’

‘He would rush home from his Stamford, CT office on weekdays just to make it to our practices and travel baseball games. We were fortunate to have him there not only as a cheerleading parent, but also as a coach and life mentor. Many mornings he would drive us to school before work, which only added traffic to his commute and delayed his arrival into the office–but, we see now that he did it because of his deep commitment and love for family life.”

Throughout his life, Stanley dedicated his time tirelessly to the Church and the broader Greek Community. He served on the Parish Council of the Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church for 30 years, holding many leadership positions during that time, including a term as President.

“Everything my father did, he committed to,” says his son, John. “There was no in between. There was no gray area: forty-four years as an international metals trader, thirty-six years of marriage, thirty years of parish council meetings, six years of weekly construction committee meetings to help build the beautiful church, three church journals, countless raffles, little league games, graduations, a wedding–he was always present. He was always on time. He never canceled.”

He was an active member of AHEPA as well as President of the Panchiaki Korais Society from 2013-2015. His faithful service to the community over the years earned him the honor of the Hellenic Thread Award in 2013.

“I remember a night last fall right after he had received his (cancer) diagnosis,” says John. “He was winding down his term as President of the Panchiaki Korais Society and his final meeting was scheduled at the same time as the Mets National League Division Series Final against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mets hadn’t been in the playoffs for 10 years and winning this game would send them to the National League Finals against the Cubs. Knowing how important this game was to him, my brother and I urged him to cancel or reschedule.’

‘Dad, take the night off, relax and enjoy the game. Who knows the next time they’ll be in the playoffs?’

‘As the words came out of my mouth, I remember already knowing that it wasn’t going to happen – (he wasn’t going to cancel)–that just wasn’t his style.”

He was a kind and gentle man who loved his family above all else. He was an incredible story-teller and historian. He had a passion for New York Mets baseball, golf, and family trips to Aruba.
He strongly supported the US Armed Forces and the contributions and sacrifices of fellow veterans who served to protect the freedoms of the United States of America.

“On Sunday July 3, we all received communion as a family of five for the first and last time,” remembers Chris. “After coffee hour next door, Dad and I agreed it was time to leave and we normally go out the side entrance, but my dad turned around and started walking back towards the Church. I curiously followed him at a distance, and had thought he had forgotten something there.’

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‘From a distance I saw him turn left towards the altar, and venerate the Icon; he did his cross and made a right turn out the front entrance of the church. There was an aura and presence about how he decided to walk out of the church that day that I immediately picked up on and pointed out to those close to me. I knew then that would be the very last time he would leave his beloved Archangel Michael Church.”

Stanley is survived by his wife of 36 years, Litsa, his two sons, John and Chris, his daughter-in-law, Francesca and his three sisters, Despina Elisson, Hariklia Amentas, and Georgia Vavas.

About Dimitri C. Michalakis

Dimitri C. Michalakis is Editor in Chief on NEO Magazine.