Lucille Vlahos, a teacher, helped found the church's Sunday school in 1952.

Obituary: Lucille Vlahos, 93, pillar of Sacramento's Greek Orthodox community

Published: Wednesday, Jun. 26, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4B
Last Modified: Thursday, Jun. 27, 2013 - 8:46 am

Lucille Vlahos, a teacher who was a pillar of the Greek Orthodox community, died June 21 of natural causes, her family said. She was 93.

Mrs. Vlahos was a devout worshipper and driving force at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Sacramento for nearly seven decades. A bilingual elementary school teacher, she began translating Greek lesson plans into English and helped found the church's Sunday school in 1952. She served as a teacher and director for 40 years and helped establish the parish library and archives.

She volunteered at community events and was active in Greek Orthodox educational and philanthropic groups, including the Philoptochos Ladies Society, Order of AHEPA, Daughters of Penelope and the Women's Board of the Orthodox Institute at UC Berkeley. She tutored schoolchildren and sponsored orphans in Greece and Cyprus.

"She was always very focused on education and helping people – especially children," said her grandson Demetre Haralambakis.

Mrs. Vlahos retired in the early 1980s after 25 years as an elementary school teacher in the San Juan Unified School District. She previously taught at Theodore Judah Elementary School in Sacramento after starting her teaching career in Madera County, her family said.

The only child of Greek immigrants, Lucille Bahumes was born on July 3, 1919, in Denver. She grew up in Nebraska and moved to Modesto during the Great Depression with her parents, who were hay dealers. She graduated from Fresno State College and earned a master's degree in education from California State University, Sacramento.

"It was a big deal for her to go to college," said her grandson Michael Haralambakis. "As the only child, she could have been a hand on the farm. But her father wanted her to pursue education."

Mrs. Vlahos settled in Sacramento in 1945. She was married for 39 years and had two children with Elias Vlahos, a businessman who owned and ran Kastorian Furriers at 10th and J streets downtown. Her husband died in 1983.

She was a gracious woman with a strong will, her family said. She was an excellent seamstress who created beautiful needlepoint and a devoted matriarch who "never missed one of my soccer or basketball games," said Michael Haralambakis, who scored a winning shot at the buzzer in a 1992 basketball game at Jesuit High School.

"The crowd stormed the court," he said. "I looked up, and here comes my grandma through the crowd like a bulldozer. She tackled me."

Mrs. Vlahos was predeceased by her son James. She is survived by a daughter, Carole Pryor of Carmichael, four grandchildren and one great-grandson.

A Trisagion is set for 7 p.m. today, and a funeral is set for 10 a.m. Thursday, at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 600 Alhambra Blvd., Sacramento. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church Building Fund.

Call The Bee's Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077. Follow him on Twitter @bob_davila.

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