Saint George Greek Orthodox Church

Announcement: Obituary – Constance Golfin Johnson

Constance Golfin Johnson, 84, (mother of Diane Golfin Raheb) passed away Dec. 3, 2012 at Holyoke Healthcare Center in Holyoke, Mass. after a long illness.

She was born Nov. 10, 1928, to Lucien and Florida Laurin in Holyoke where she was raised. Although she lived in Amherst for most of her adult life, she married in Miami Beach, Florida, and lived there in the late 1940s.

She graduated from Precious Blood Grammar School and Holyoke High School. Part of the first generation of her family to have attended college, she achieved her bachelors degree in two years, summa cum laude, from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she went on to obtain her masters degree and ABD Ph.D in French literature, while she was teaching high school in Chicopee. She taught later in the Amherst school system, which she loved.

From her 20s onward, she was a member of Beta Sigma Phi, an international women’s social, cultural and service organization. She played violin from the age of four, and in her later years she played at all family holidays.

Vacations at the ocean, her pet cats, and of course, her grandchildren never failed to elicit her dazzling smile. Always a determined, strong, and independent personality with a lifelong love of learning, she greatly influenced all those around her.

She was predeceased by her parents; her sister, Cecile E. Laurin; her first husband, Andrew S. Golfin, Sr.; her second husband, Archibald R. Johnson; and her son, Mark Andrew Golfin.

She is survived by her children, Diane Golfin Raheb of Charlestown, N.H. and Andrew S. Golfin, Jr. of Canton, Conn. and his wife, Peggy Golfin; as well as her grandchildren, Mark Raheb, Bay Golfin, David Golfin and Liam Golfin.

Visiting hours will be from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6, at Douglass Funeral Service, 87 North Pleasant St., Amherst, MA, with a remembrance at 6:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, and in keeping with her lifestyle, memorial contributions may be made to Jones Library, 43 Amity St., Amherst, MA.

Additional information about services along with a memorial guestbook can be found at Douglass Funeral Service.

Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on December 5, 2012

Announcement: Obituary: Yonnie Houpis

Yonnie Ballas Houpis, 79, of Keene passed away at her daughter’s Spofford Lake home on Sept. 3, 2011, surrounded by her family.

Born in Brattleboro on Dec. 29, 1931, to Christy and Effie (Michailides) Ballas, she attended Green Street School and graduated from Brattleboro High School in 1948. Garnering many public speaking awards, she was admired by many for her dramatic roles and vocal prowess during her high school years.

She enjoyed singing in the Greek Orthodox Church choir when her family could traverse the country roads between Brattleboro and Keene. The choir director, Dino Houpis, would often phone her home to ask if she would be singing in church that Sunday.

She attended the University of Vermont, later transferring to Boston University where she received an associate degree. She moved to Keene in 1951 when she married then choir director, Constantine N. (Dino) Houpis, proprietor of the Crystal Restaurant in downtown Keene. In 1980, the Houpis family sold the historic Crystal Restaurant; it subsequently became Henry David’s, Mango’s on Main Street, and now Margaritas.

In addition to serving as hostess and bookkeeper at the Crystal Restaurant, she also become famous for her Greek specialties featured in her husband’s catering business. At the same time, while also raising her family, she completed her Bachelor of Education at Keene State College, and went on to teach third grade at Troy Elementary School for 22 years.

Beloved by her students for her stories about her family, Greek ancestry and ancient dinosaurs, she is remembered affectionately by many students as “The Bestest!”

As a young mother and wife, she enjoyed participating in many organizations, including Drama Workshop, Red Cross, and the Lions Club’s annual musicals. Professional associations included Delta Kappa Gamma, Association of American University Women, New Hampshire Retired Teacher’s Association, and Cheshire County Historical Association.

Along with her husband, she entertained graciously in her Main Street home, notably the Cheshiremen Barbershop Chorus and visiting quartets.

Both her husband and her son, Nicholas, predeceased her in 1999. Survivors include her daughter, Elana (Lela) Houpis Barnes and husband James, of Spofford and Piedmont, Calif.; her son, Christy C. Houpis and his wife, Dawn, of Amherst, N.H.; her sister, Aglaia Ploubides, of Tewksbury, Mass.; her brother, Arthur Ballas, of Blacksburg, Va.; grandson Jonathan Barnes, Esq., of San Francisco; granddaughter Dr. Alison Barnes Callahan and her husband, Gregory, of Boston; and several nieces and nephews.

Family and friends are invited to call at the Foley Funeral Home, 49 Court St., Keene on Tuesday, Sept. 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 7, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, corner of Putney Road and Butler Avenue, Brattleboro.

Interment will follow at Woodland Cemetery in Keene. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions be made in Yonnie’s name to Home Health Care Hospice, P.O. Box 564, Keene 03431.

From The Keene Sentinel, September 4, 2011

Announcement: Funeral Services for Charles J. “Charlie” Contas

Services for Charles J. “Charlie” Contas, 90, who died on Dec. 19, 2010, will be held Thursday, Dec. 23 at 10:00 a.m. at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 70 West St., Keene. Burial will follow in the family lot at Monadnock View Cemetery. Calling hours will be held Wednesday from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Fletcher Funeral Home, 33 Marlboro St., Keene.


Charles J. “Charlie” Contas, 90, died Dec. 19, 2010, surrounded by his loving children. He was born in Manchester, March 4, 1920, son of Greek immigrants John and Zoe Contas. In 1929, when he was 9 years old, the family moved to Keene, where he lived for most of his life. He graduated from Keene High School in 1938. He graduated from Keene Teachers College, now Keene State College, in 1942, receiving a bachelor of education degree. After graduating from college, Mr. Contas enlisted in the U.S. Navy to serve his country during World War II. He served from 1942 to 1946, where his service included six months in the Pacific aboard the USS Wasp aircraft carrier. He was also a member of the U.S. Naval Reserve, attaining the rank of lieutenant prior to being honorably discharged. After World War II, he attended Boston University Law School, from which he received his law degree in 1949. Later in his life, he was also awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree from Keene State College. It was during his law school years that he met and married the love of his life, Katherine “Kay” Memos of Nashua. After graduation from law school, they moved to Augusta, Maine, where he worked as an insurance claims adjuster from 1949 to 1952. They returned to Keene in 1953, where Mr. Contas established his own law practice, and shortly thereafter, was appointed clerk of Cheshire County Superior Court, a job he held and loved for 25 years. He was appointed a New Hampshire Superior Court judge in 1978 and remained in that position until retiring in 1989. He was a member of the N.H. Bar Association for more than 50 years, a member of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for more than 50 years, a board member, officer and president of St. George Greek Orthodox Church, a member of the Keene Lions Club, an incorporator of Cheshire Medical Center, a trustee of Cheshire County Savings Bank and CFX Bank, and a member of the American Legion and the Bektash Shrine of N.H. He was also an active participant in and supporter of Keene State College alumni activities. Mr. Contas’ interests included playing tennis, walking, spending winters in Florida, summers at the beach, working in his yard and garden, being actively involved in the Greek community, attending church very faithfully and, above all, spending time with his family. Mr. Contas was a remarkable and honorable man. He will be deeply missed and forever greatly loved. Survivors include three children, Elaine Anderson and her husband, David, John Contas and his wife, Belinda, and Terry Contas; his pride and joy, his four grandchildren, Kate Anderson, Kari Anderson, Tristan Contas and Elise Contas; his brother, Greg Contas; his sisters, Stella Kiritsy and Rachel Conides; and many nieces and nephews. His loving wife, Katherine, to whom he was married for what he considered to be “58 wonderful years,” died in 2005. A brother, James, died earlier. From The Keene Sentinel, December 21, 2010

Announcement: Funeral Service for Zoe Vrakatitsis

Beloved long-time parishioner, Zoe Vrakatitsis, 90, died June 3, 2010, at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene after a period of failing health.

Services will be held Tuesday, June 8th at 10 a.m., at St. George Greek Orthodox Church. Father Theodore Stylianopoulos will officiate. Burial will follow in the family lot at Monadnock View Cemetery, West Keene.

There are no public calling hours. Fletcher Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Keene is in charge of arrangements. The family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made in her memory to St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 70 West St., Keene 03431.