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Ernest Villas- Dedicated Greek Orthodox Layman Passes After Distinguished Service to the Church

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Jul 15, 2006

Nashville, TN - Ernest A. Villas passed away on July 14th in Weston, MA after 50 years of faithful service to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Archbishop Demetrios of America, in Nashville TN to preside over the 38th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, offered his condolences immediately upon hearing of the passing of this dedicated laymen.

"In the person of Anastasios Villas, we are bidding farewell to a remarkable worker of the Church who offered, throughout his entire life, truly superb service to the youth, the laity, and the Religious Education Department of the Archdiocese. We fervently pray for the repose of his noble mind and soul and we truly hope that his example will have many followers."

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 30, 1924, he was the son of the late Angelus and Emily Villas. He is survived by Vasiliki (Shuris), his devoted wife of 49 years, and his two sons, Lee of New York City and Dennis of Seattle, Washington. He was predeceased by a son Michael, a daughter Emily, and a brother Leonidas.

Mr. Villas was a graduate of the University of Minnesota and Columbia University. He served in the US Navy in WWII on the Troop Ship USS West Point in the European Theater and on the USS FDR in the Pacific Theater of War. Having completed his studies at the Naval School of Music, he served as the Bugler on the USS FDR. Following his discharge he returned to Minneapolis where he attended the University of Minnesota and became the first chair in the UM band. Following graduation he was named acting Bandmaster. He left this position to assume direction of the famous all-girl band, orchestra and chorus of the Hormel Company of Austin, MN. Following this he attended Columbia University in NYC to pursue a Master's Degree in Education and returned to Minneapolis to direct the North High School Band.

Mr. Villas was a founding member of the Upper Midwest Hellenic Orthodox Youth Federation (1940 -1950), the forerunner of the Greek Orthodox Youth of America (GOYA), where he met his future wife at a convention held in Minneapolis in 1954. Moving to New York, Villas assumed the directorship of the newly created Department of Laity of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Villas also served as Executive Chairman of several Clergy-Laity Congresses and Executive Director of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. After 20 years of service in New York he was appointed Director of the Department of Religious Education, located on the campus of Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts where he developed a new parish catechetical curriculum. He retired in 1997. Villas was 81 years old.

Viewing will be at the Holy Cross Chapel, located on the campus of Hellenic College, at 50 Goddard Avenue, Brookline, MA from 9 am to 11 am on Monday, July 17. The Funeral will be held at 11 am, followed by a memorial luncheon at St. Demetrios Church in Weston, MA. Burial will be at the Linwood Cemetery in Weston, MA. Memorial contributions may be directed to the Archbishop Iakovos Library Fund, 50 Goddard Ave., Brookline, MA 02431.

Fr. Frank Marangos
Cell: 617-680-7222

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