Below is a eulogy delivered by Nicholas Gage in honor of his koumbara:
Kiki Economou Eulogy
Vasiliki Mihopoulou Economou was a good and generous woman who suffered the many misfortunes that came into her life with patience, dignity and rare tenacity. She was born in the middle of World War II in a remote Greek mountain village where she knew danger and hunger from the start of her existence. As a child she was uprooted with her mother and siblings by Communist insurgents and taken first to Albania and then to Hungary, where fear and privation were as frequent as rain and sleet. When she returned to Greece in 1954 she learned that she, her mother, brother and sister would go to America to join her father, who had emigrated to Worcester while his family was in Hungary. She thought her harsh days were over when the family reunited in America, but her struggles continued as she watched her parents’ marriage disolve and she had to forge her future in a strange new world with no paternal support. The clouds lifted for a while when she married Stavros Economou, opened the Marlboro House of Pizza and adopted her son Thanasi. The business flourished, they started several more, which also prospered. For many years Kiki and Steve shared their good fortune not only with relatives and friends, but with anyone who approached them with a hard luck story. Then Steve died 22 years ago, the businesses were sold, the money dried up. But you would never know how hard she struggled when seeing Kiki. She was full of cheer, affection, concern and willingness to help anyone in any way possible. If she couldn’t shower you with expensive presents any more, she would knit you a scarf or a shawl, or crochet a blanket for every baby that she heard was about to be born. If she couldn’t take you to fancy restaurants, Kiki would prepare a delicious dinner for you at home and make it even more enjoyable with her good humor. She was not always loved in the unconditional way she loved others, not always thanked in the way she appreciated any kindness shown her, but she was always forgiving, always ready to dismiss a slight or overlook an unkindness. Vasiliki Economu was a devoted wife to Steve, a loving mother to Thanasi, a doting grandmother to Kiki and Stavro, a caring sister, an adoring godmother, an understanding mother-in-law, a considerate koumbara, a loyal friend, a proud Greek, a faithful Christian. She was a woman of rare sensibilities, full of love, honesty and compassion. She gave much to all of us who knew her and takes a part of us with her as she embarks on her final journey. May her memory be eternal.