A dear mentor of mine, “The Colonel”, as we always called him, has passed away. He was responsible for getting me involved in AHEPA and was always one of my favorite people to see at church in Charlottesville. He was the best…his obituary is below. May his memory be eternal…
Lt. Col. (Ret.) James L. Christopulos, 93, a native of Cheyenne, Wyoming, a resident of Charlottesville, Virginia, died December 31, 2010. In addition to his many professional achievements, he was a man who always placed family first, a loving husband, father and grandfather.
Jim was the son of the late Louis and Helen Christopulos of Cheyenne, Wyoming. He was a civil engineer and a career military officer. He attended the College of Engineering at the University of Wyoming, the Engineering School at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and the Graduate School of Engineering at Harvard University. He studied atomic weaponry and radiation at Air University (USAF). Jim served in Europe as a combat engineer with VIII Corps and with the 28th Infantry Division when it was overrun by the Germans during the “Battle of the Bulge” in December 1944. He also served with the 24th Corps in Okinawa and Korea.
Upon returning to Cheyenne, Wyoming from service in Europe and the Pacific after World War II, he met N. Beth Wilson, who was on the staff of the Wyoming State Adjutant General. They were married in Cheyenne on May 23, 1947.
Christopulos transferred his Army Engineer Commission to the Air Force in 1949. During his tenure with the Air Force, he served in various capacities. He was Chief of Engineer Planning at 12th Air Force Headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany from July 1950 to July 1953, where he directed the planning and design of seven new air bases in West Germany. He served in a similar capacity with Air Defense Command Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado from July 1953 to July 1956, where he was responsible for the establishment of the Command’s “Radar Umbrella” in the continental United States and Canada, up to the Arctic Circle.
From 1956 until 1961, Jim was the Chief of the Strategic Missile Branch at Air Force Headquarters in the Pentagon, establishing the sitting of the ICBM arsenal, which included the Atlas, Titan and Minuteman ICBM launch complexes. From July 1961 to July 1964, he served as the Director of Engineering Projects Division at Pacific Air Force Headquarters in Honolulu, Hawaii. From July 1964 until his retirement in July 1966, he was director of the Facilities Maintenance Division at Strategic Air Command (SAC) Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska.
Following his retirement from the Air Force, Jim received an appointment as Chief Engineer and Senior Environmental Engineer Advisor on Environmental Hazards at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He served in this capacity until he retired, for the second time, in 1986. During his service with HUD, he developed explosion and thermal radiation safety standards which were used in determining the safe siting of the HUD projects near operations handling chemicals and petrochemicals of an explosive or fire-prone nature. He developed departmental construction standards for locating HUD projects in the vicinity of toxic wastes and radioactive materials such as radon; and he represented HUD on the White House Radiation Science Panel under the administrations of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
Amongst Jim’s military decorations are the Combat Infantry Badge, Air Force Missile Badge, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, European Ribbon with 4 combat stars, Army Commendation Medal, and Air Force Commendation Medal.
Following Jim’s retirement from HUD, he received 8 awards, including a letter of commendation from President Reagan. He is listed in Who’s Who in Government.
Jim was a member and an officer of the AHEPA, a National Greek American organization; the American Legion, the Retired Officers Association, the National Association of Retired Federal Employees, and an active alumnus of his college fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE).
Survivors include his beloved wife, Beth, of Charlottesville, his daughter, Dr. Diana K. Christopulos, of Salem, Virginia; his daughter, Joyce Christopulos Almarode, and her husband, Mel, of Orange, Virginia; his son, L. Michael Christopulos, of Orlando, Florida; his granddaughter, Malaika Almarode Rogers, and her husband, David, of Madison, Virginia; his grandsons, Shaun Michael and Jonathan James Christopulos, of Florida; his great-granddaughter, Alexandra Nicole Rogers, of Madison, Virginia; his great-grandson, Shaun Michael Christopulos, Jr., and his great-granddaughter, Kaitlen Christopulos, both of Florida. He is also survived by his brother, Tony Christopulos, and his wife Ann, of Waukegan, Illinois; his brother, Mike Christopulos, and his wife Jan, of Brown Deer, Wisconsin; his sister, Iris Christopulos Pilafas, of Atlanta, Georgia, and his brother-in-law, Jack C. Wilson, and his wife, Mary, of Largo, Florida. He was predeceased by his sister, Kaye Christopulos Kachavos, and his brothers, Nick Christy, George Christopulos and Bob Christopulos. He is also survived by numerous beloved nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends at the Trisagion Service to be held at Hill and Wood Funeral Home, in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Friday, January 7, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.
Funeral services will be held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 119 Caroline Street, Orange, Virginia, on Saturday, January 8, 2011, at 1:00 p.m., with the Reverend Lin Hutton and Father Louis J. Christopulos officiating.
Interment will follow at Riverview Cemetery, in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The family has suggested that memorial contributions may be made to St. Catherine’s Greek Orthodox Church, 5555 S. Yosemite Street, Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111 or St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 119 Caroline Street, Orange, Virginia 22960.