KOTSIS, Lefkothea (Igoumenidis) (February 2, 1917 – July 4, 2020). Lefkothea fell asleep with the Lord peacefully in her home. She was 103 years old.
Lefkothea was born to Thomas and Maria Igoumenidis in the small mountain village of Limni, in the prefecture of Ioannina, Epirus, Greece in 1917, just months before Greece’s declaration to join the Allied Forces in World War I. This isolated mountainous region, windswept by the Ionian Sea to the west and against the backdrop of the Pindus mountains, is where she called home for 50 years.
There, she worked the land, breathed the cool thin air imbued with the local fauna and flora, labored in the fields, and raised a family. It was there where she learned the ancient traditions and secrets of this largely unconquered region; where she sang the pre-Homeric mirologia lamentations, collected well water with her pagouri canteen, and listened to the shepherd's skaros song. It was there where she inherited a name as ancient as the land itself. A land that originally worshipped a goddess - a white goddess, Lefkothea.
On August 28, 1940, she was married to Vasilios Kotsis (1916 – 1976), a political operative in the National Republican Greek League (EDES), a major anti-fascist resistance group formed during the Axis occupation of Greece during World War II. Over the next 25 years, she would toil in the village, maintain traditions, witness her home razed from political upheaval, and care for her three children, Eleftheria, Maria, and Petros.
On August 4, 1966, Lefkothea and Vasilios emigrated from Greece to Detroit, Michigan, the adopted home of Vasilios' brothers and their extensive families. There, she settled into a quiet and fulfilling life with her family, for decades practicing and sharing many of the customs and traditions she learned from her homeland, from sharing her time-loved village meals with her family to singing Epirotika lullabies to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She would later spend extended time with her family in New York and Greece, but she always considered Detroit to be her adopted home.
In 2005, in an event as unlikely as her survival, she was sworn-in as a United States citizen during a private ceremony in the chambers of a federal district court judge.
Yiayia Lefko was known for her silent strength, yet unmistakable voice; a wry humor tempered by unwavering discipline; her highly intricate needlepoint tapestries; her pites, with phyllo rolled by hand; her unyielding love for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Lefkothea leaves this world as the last living family matriarch who immigrated to this country for a better life. She was a vestige of a bygone era that brought old world traditions to new world promise. She leaves behind a beautiful legacy to carry her memory. Her three children: Eleftheria (Paul); Mary (James); and Petros; five grandchildren: Bill (Angelina); Evans (Fay); Irene (Jeff); Christina (Costandinos); and Harry (Irene); and 15 great grandchildren: Chloe; Estee; Elle; Alexi; Demetri; Petros; Pavlos; Brock; Lefkothea; Kalliope; Aristides; Maria; Eleni; Demetra; and Georgeanne.
Arrangements Entrusted to St. Clair Shores Bagnasco & Calcaterra Funeral Home
25800 Harper Avenue, St. Chores, MI. Instate Saturday, July 11, 2020
from 9am till time of Service at 10AM At Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral
707 E. Lafayette St., Detroit, MI 48236
Share a Memory With the family at www.bcfhshores.com
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