Obituary of Reverend Athenasios "Thomas" George Parthenakis, Ph.D.
Reverend Athenasios “Thomas” Parthenakis, Ph.D.
On Thursday, October 3, 2019, Tom Parthenakis, loving husband, father, and grandfather passed away at the age of 78 after a brief illness.
Fr. Tom was born on August 4, 1941 in Cincinnati, OH to George and Zefira (Orphanos) Parthenakis. He received his undergraduate degree at Heidelberg University (class of 1963) and married Catherine Ann Gebhart on July 4, 1964. While teaching high school math and coaching wrestling in Akron, OH, he attained his masters and doctorate in history at Kent State University. In 1971 he became a professor at Villa Maria College in Erie, PA and then taught history at Gannon University in 1989 -2007. While at Gannon, he served as faculty senate president in 2002-2003, and after retiring at the age of 66 he attained his Masters of Divinity at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in 2010. Fr. Tom then served as priest at Saint Catherine Orthodox Church in Ithaca, NY until 2017. He was a Fulbright Scholar and studied in Turkey on a Fulbright Scholarship.
Fr. Tom enjoyed 56 years of marriage and devoted himself to being a loving husband, father, and grandfather. He also had a deep and abiding love for God and demonstrated this through his service to the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Erie, PA as the founder of the Erie Panagyri Greek Festival of which he was grand chairman for 18 years. He also loved singing in the church choir, taking students on historical tours, and trips to Greece, and being a mentor to his students. Fr. Tom always gave with his entire heart to his family, church, and friends. It is difficult to put into words how incredibly kind, generous, funny, and humble he was; every person in his life has a story of kindness and humor.
Fr. Tom was preceded in death by his father, George, and his mother, Zefira. He is survived by his wife, Cathy, his two children, John and Elena, daughter-in-law, Christy (Vesolich) Parthenakis, his grandchildren Kelly, Matthew, and Isabella, his brothers Nicholas and James, several nieces and nephews, and extended family, Emily Reeher and Sofia Reeher.
Friends are invited to call on Sunday October 6, 2019 at the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, 4376 West Lake Road, Erie, PA 16505 from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. (Trisagion Prayer service at 7:00 p.m.) until 9 p.m. and are invited there on Monday, October 7, 2019 for the Funeral Service at 11:00 a.m. Interment Laurel Hill Cemetery. Arrangements are being handled by the Dusckas-Martin Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., 4216 Sterrettania Rd.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, 4376 West Lake Road, Erie, PA 16505 or the A.N.N.A. Shelter, 1555 East 10th Street, Erie, PA 16511.