The Metropolis of San Francisco announces the passing of Fr. Constantine J. Raptis, who died March 31.
Fr. Dean faithfully served the Greek Orthodox Church for 64 years, and was loved and respected by the countless faithful to whom he ministered during his distinguished priesthood.
“Father Dean was truly a devoted servant of the Lord, and his willingness to continue his ministry well beyond his retirement is indicative of his level of commitment to the Holy Priesthood,” stated Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco.
“I recall spending time with Fr. Dean recently and despite his health challenges, Father Dean’s heart was always full of joy and love. I will cherish the many years of friendship we shared, and pray for his family and all those who mourn his passing.”
Constantine J. Raptis was born in Campbell, Ohio on Dec. 22, 1927, to parents John Raptis and Maria Billis Raptis.
While maintaining a standard of excellence in his studies and athletics, he worked throughout his high school years at various jobs including pharmacies, restaurants, shoeshine parlors and steel mills. He graduated from high school in 1945 and enrolled at the Greek Theological School in Pomfret, Conn., and completed his studies and graduated salutatorian of his class from the Greek Theological Institute (Holy Cross) in Brookline, Mass., in 1951. Upon his graduation, he interned for one year as lay assistant to the pastor of St. Paul Church in Hempstead, N.Y. There he met and married in June of 1952 his beloved Presvytera of 62 years, Evonne (Evanthia) Pantason.
Ordained a deacon by Bishop Ezekiel on July 14, 1952, and a priest the following Sunday by Bishop Demetrios in Ambridge, Pa., Fr. Dean was assigned his first parish of Zoodochos Peghe in Martins Ferry, Ohio, in August 1952. He served subsequently at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Tarpon Springs, Fla., and the Annunciation Church in Sacramento, Calif.
In 1976, Fr. Dean requested a leave of absence from the ministry in order to study the construction industry, with the intention of offering his services as an associate priest and construction superintendent at churches with ongoing building programs.
During that time, he was employed by a large California construction company and also worked for a large tool manufacturing company as quality control officer. Subsequently, Fr. Dean was called to serve part-time for two years at St. John the Baptist in Salinas, Calif., and six years at St. George in Fresno, Calif.
Upon retirement in 1992, Fr. Dean established permanent residency in Las Vegas.
In addition to his parish responsibilities over the course of 64 years, Fr. Dean has served in the following capacities: the Archdiocesan Council; the General Assembly National Council of Churches; Diocesan Delegate, San Francisco; Vice President of Trinity School for Children and a lifetime honorary member of Guadalupe Homes; State of Florida Welfare Board member; director of Sacramento Area Council of Churches; Advisory Board for Sacramento Housing Authority; Vicar of Central Valley Diocese of San Francisco; established the Mission Church of St. Andrew in San Luis Obispo, Calif.; San Francisco Diocesan Council member; St. Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center Board member; Orthodox Christian Mission Center Board; diocesan delegate, treasurer, archivist, vice president and president of the Retired Greek Orthodox Clergy Association; chaplain at the University of Florida, University of Tampa, Florida Raiford Prison, California Folsom Prison and of the California Senate during the governorship of Ronald Reagan.
After many years of devoted service, Fr. Dean was certainly deserving of retirement, however he heeded the calling in his heart to continue serving the Lord for more than 15 years, flying over 200,000 miles to serve the parishes of Sts. Constantine and Helen in Great Falls, Mont.; St. John the Baptist in Pueblo, Colo., and many other churches and missions in Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Washington and Idaho. For nearly a decade, Fr. Dean served as associate assistant to Fr. John Hondros at St. John the Baptist Church in Las Vegas.
Fr. Dean is survived by Presvytera Evonne; children Billie Ann, John and Maria, and grandchildren, Anthony and Costa.
Metropolitan Nikitas of the Dardanelles, who served as an altar boy as a youth under Fr. Dean’s tenure in Tarpon Springs, presided at the funeral services April 5 at St. John the Baptist Church in Las Vegas.
Burial was in Tarpon Springs.
Memorials may be made to St. John the Baptist Church in Las Vegas in memory of Father Dean.