Ambassador Michael D. Sotirhos, in Memoriam
Michael G. Sotirhos, the first-ever American of Hellenic descent to serve as the United States ambassador to Greece, died on Sunday April 14, in Florida at the age of 91. He was the son of Greek immigrants who entered the US through Ellis Island in New York in 1923.
Michael Sotirhos had served in two ambassadorial positions: in 1985 President Reagan appointed him as Ambassador to Jamaica. In 1989, President George Bush chose Michael Sotirhos to be the United States Ambassador to Greece.
Ambassador Sotirhos was born and raised in New York, New York, where he was graduated, with honors, from Baruch College at the City University. Upon graduation, he and others formed the predecessor to the Ariston Group, which had varied interests in real estate, construction and commercial interior design. He served that company and its other related business interests until he entered government service in 1985.
After his retirement, he held a business Directorship in the Alexander Onassis Public Benefit Foundation.
In recognition of his outstanding service and leadership to the Caribbean nation, the Government of Jamaica bestowed its prestigious award, the “Order of Distinction” with the rank of Commander, to Ambassador Sotirhos. Hellenic College, Deree College and The City College of New York have bestowed honorary doctor of law degrees on Michael Sotirhos.
Community and government service had been at the center of Ambassador Sotirhos’ career. He had served as Chairman of the Heritage Groups Council of the Republican National Committee, Chairman of Ethnic Voters ’84 for the Reagan Bush Campaign and Chairman of the New York State Republican Heritage Groups Council. President Nixon and later President Ford asked Michael Sotirhos to head a Presidential Commission, the National Advisory Council of Voluntary Service, to evaluate the Peace Corps. He also had been a member of the New York State Council on Architecture and the National Council on Small Business. He had served the Greek Orthodox Church and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.