Obituary for Athanasios Vulgaropulos
"Athanasios A. Vulgaropulos of Waltham, MA, passed away peacefully in his sleep, on April 6, 2017. Devoted husband and father. He will be deeply missed by his five children and their partners, and ten grandchildren. He cared about people and cherished his friendships. His interests included science, music, and education. He enjoyed a fulfilling career as a Hydraulic and Civil Engineer. He was a leader in the Greek-American community. He volunteered for medical and political causes."
Thanasis had many fond memories of his early childhood in Thessaloniki, Greece. His mother played the mandolin and Thanasis learned to play violin and piano. His family had lively parties with music, dancing and great food.
His father had considered moving his family to America, to join his two brothers, but stayed in Greece after finding a good job. When Thanasis was 6 years old, he received a letter from his uncle Constantinos, who had moved to Lowell, Massachusetts. He encouraged young Thanasis to study hard- in order to be accepted into an American university. Thanasis was inspired and determined to achieve his best.
Within a few years, WWII had begun. Thanasis was resourceful, and at age 10, built a bombshelter for his family. However, Thanasis and his family could not shield themselves from witnessing the brutality of war. He along with many others grieved the loss of friends
and relatives who were killed during the occupation.
After the war ended, Thanasis was hopeful for his future. In high school, he studied science, played soccer and exercised regularly.
He graduated high school from Anatolia College and was accepted by an American university. Although he would deeply miss his parents, brothers, relatives and friends in Greece, he was excited to pursue an education in America. He was welcomed by his uncles and their dear families, in Lowell, MA. Within a few months, his beloved uncle Constantinos suddenly passed away. Thanasis was heart-broken and wanted to return home to Greece. At the urging of his relatives, he stayed and finished his studies.
Thanasis earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a master’s degree in Hydraulic Engineering, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, MA. He worked on numerous waterway projects in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts, as well as other
states and in the Caribbean. Thanasis was innovative and relished solving complex problems. For one project, he developed a new method of measuring water flow rate to solve drainage problems.
During this time, Thanasis married and had five children. He was a devoted father who shared his many interests with his children- science, music, problem-solving, fixing things, singing, dancing,
Greek and foreign culture, history, cooking, art, volunteering,
travel, playing games and sports.
He followed tradition in some aspects of his life, but advocated for progress in other areas. He taught his children to question yet respect authority and hierarchy within organizations. Thanasis envisioned a future where people could live they way they wanted (as long as they didn’t injure others) and was disappointed that those decisions could be overturned by people in power.
Thanasis liked people and cherished his many friends. He also valued being part of the Greek community. Thanasis and his family regularly attended the Taxiarchae Greek Orthodox Church in Watertown, MA. They volunteered during the Greek festivals and enjoyed dancing with their friends and savoring the delicious food.
Thanasis welcomed Greek newcomers to the Boston area. He offered to take them on informal tours of Boston- sharing his knowledge of historic places. He wanted to expand the Greek community and his large network of friends. He invited them to local events and introduced them to other Greeks, so they could enhance their careers and friendships.
He was one of the volunteer radio announcers for the WNTN "Greek Cultural Radio Hour", as a member of the Greek Cultural Association of Boston, for many years. Thanasis discussed a variety of topics in Greek culture and interviewed Greek Americans.
For several years, Thanasis enjoyed singing and sometimes playing the piano, along with many other volunteers, as a chorus, for the residents of the Hellenic Rehabilitation and Nursing Home. He also participated in fund-raising for Greek organizations, such as the
Hellenic Children’s Cardiac Fund.
Thanasis is survived by his five children and their spouses.
Funeral Service will be held on April 21, 2017 at the Taxiarchae Greek Orthodox Church, 25 Bigelow Ave., Watertown, MA at 1PM. VIsiting hours will be held on April 20, 2017 at the funeral home from 4PM to 8PM. Dear friends, donations, in lieu of flowers, in memory of Thanasis, can be made directly to the following charities that he supported.
AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association) -
or AHEPA chapter# 406,
c/o Taxiarchae Greek Orthodox Church
25 Bigelow Ave, Watertown MA 02472
Anatolia College and American College of Thessaloniki -
Pan-Macedonian Association of Boston Philippos and Cleopatra -