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Aris Sclavounos


Aris Sclavounos, age 85, of Wayne, passed on Saturday, January 28, 2017 with the comfort of family by his side.

He was born in Pessada, Kefalonia, Greece where he lived until he was about fifteen years old. When he was fifteen he went to Italy to work with his uncle who was the captain of a ship. He began working on the ship when his uncle passed away. He continued working on ships traveling routes from South America through the Caribbean, and the Eastern Coast of the United States. He eventually left the shipping industry and started making a home for himself in New York City. He began busing tables and eventually was offered a unique consignment bartending job. He was told he had to pay .50 cents per bottle to the proprietor and whatever he charged above that he could keep for himself. Well Aris began to become flush with cash as he was getting about $4.00 per bottle. He was making so much money that his cousin saw his bank account statement and was worried that Aris was involved in something illegal. Aris saw opportunity in the United States and was attempting to become a citizen. He even tried to enlist in the Army. While he was trying to enlist the Federal Bureau of Investigation was after him for overstaying his Visa in America and then the Military Draft Board was looking for him as he had been drafted. He finally was enlisted in the US Army and all issues were erased. Aris served with the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, first in Korea and later in Frankfort, Germany where he would spy a cute girl named Margot Butzom who was working at a local salon. Aris went to the salon and showed the shopkeeper a photo of his cousin who was of a similar age to the shopkeeper’s child. He suggested the kids play together and Margot was sent as a chaperone. His plan worked perfectly as he got Margot alone. He soon won her affection and they began dating. A short time after they began dating Aris received his discharge from the Army and was sent back to the United States. Aris told Margot he would send for her. He followed through and called the town, which only had one phone at the local firehouse. The fire chief tracked Margot down and she was soon on her way to the United States. Margot and Aris fell in love and were married at the Russian Orthodox Church in Frankfort, Germany on August 18, 1956. They have enjoyed sixty years of a loving and devoted marriage.

Aris was a very hard worker who was stubborn and motivated but on the inside he had a huge loving heart and a twinkle in his eye. He was a dedicated family man who loved and adored his wife, children, and grandchildren. He had a very strong work ethic and loved the restaurant business. He had the foresight and vision to be the first in the world to open a Greek food based franchise, Acropolis Restaurant, with twenty-two locations in shopping malls throughout the United States and Canada. In 2009 he retired after over 60 years in the restaurant business. In his retirement he was always there to consult his children and grandchildren in their restaurants.

Aris, as you can imagine, was an excellent cook. He was always trying new recipes. With his collection of tested recipes he has written several Greek cookbooks. He was born and raised on the Greek Island of Kefalonia which fostered a love for all types of fish and seafood. Aris loved gardening growing tomatoes and figs and if he wasn’t in his garden or working he was watching the television show Gunsmoke. Somewhere, deep down in his heart, this island boy was a cowboy.

Aris was the loving husband of Margot Sclavounos; devoted father of Irene Nikolaidis and her husband George of Pompton Plains, and Archimedes Sclavounos of Wayne; cherished grandfather of Nicholas Nikolaidis of Queens, NY, Jesse Nikolaidis of Pompton Plains, Aris Sclavounos of Wayne and Spyros Sclavounos also of Wayne; he was the dear brother of the late Pete Sclavounos and Nick Sclavounos and his wife Ann of Kefalonia, Greece.

Friends may visit with the family from 4-8 PM on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at the Vander May Wayne Colonial Funeral Home, 567 Ratzer Road, Wayne. The Trisaghion Prayers will be held 7:30 PM on Tuesday evening.

A 10 AM funeral service will be held on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 467 Grandview Ave., Wyckoff. (please meet directly at the church on Wednesday)

Interment will be in Maryrest Cemetery, Mahwah.

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