CRESSKILL, N.J. – The Rev. Dr. James A. Tsigonis DDS, 87, a priest with a lay vocation, died June 20. He suffered briefly with myasthenia gravis. He was born June 23, 1928, in Jersey City, the son of Fr. and Presvytera Angelo Tsigonis, who served as the priest at St. Demetrios in Jersey City for many years. After completing public school and serving in the U.S. Army, he briefly attended Colgate University, then transferred to St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, receiving a degree in chemistry in 1952. Fr. 1952-54, he attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, completing a Ph.D. in chemistry. He next attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, specializing in endodontics.

He married Marika Manolitsis (Manos) of Monemvasia, Greece in 1964. He was ordained a deacon Oct. 25, 1970 by Bishop Silas of Amphipoleos at Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York, and as a priest at St. St. Demetrios in Jersey City, his father’s parish by Metropolitan Germanos Polyzoidis. He was registered as a priest there, while also maintaining dental practices in Jersey City and North Bergen. He received the offikion of Protopresbyter from Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey in 2005. Fr. Tsigonis also served as an assistant professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now Rutgers) and was active in AHEPA. Funeral services took place June 24 at St. John the Theologian Cathedral in Tenafly, N.J., where he helped serve until his last days Survivors, in addition to his presvytera, include two daughters, Polyxeni and Simone; a sister, Chrisse, and other relatives. He was predeceased by an older brother and sister, Lt. Stanley Tsigonis (USMC), and Nina. Memorials may be made to St. Michael’s Home.