submitted by Viola Prineas on 25.08.2005
I am not Greek, but my beloved husband was, and my children are Greek. All three look like their father, not me. But I have always been proud about my decision to marry Peter Gregory Prineas. I was 20 years old when I met my handsome future husband one night on the steamship Admiral, on the Mississippi River in St. Louis Missouri, during the Big Band era. From then on, all my friends were Greek, and their families, accepted me as well. He was in his 2nd year of college. So I saw him only on the weekends. But summers I saw him more. He took summer classes at Washington University, in St. Louis MO. Pete was extremely intelligent, and graduated in near top of his class of 600 students of Engineering Class, at the University of Illinois, one of the top ten engineering schools in the nation. We were married a few months after graduation, in the beautiful "St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church" in St Louis, MO. Father Nicon. D. Patrinocos officiated at our lovely, unforgettable wedding. In time we had 4 children Lynne (Elenni, now age 50) Gregory (Gregorios, 47) and Mary (Maria 44). Our precious son Peter Gregory died shortly after birth in 1966. Pete's father "Gregory Peter Prineas" came to the United States in 1920. When he arrived at Ellis Island, the Officers that were on duty, could not understand him when they asked his name. They just put down name "George" and it was a name he kept, except on important documents and things.
Within a couple years, George started a thriving business of hand dipped, boxed chocolates. and a good sized restaurant in the middle of town, in E. St. Louis. IL and catering to the businesses during the day, and the movie goers, and other night entertaining. Having only a second grade education before coming to the United States, he taught himself to speak English very well. did all of his own
bookkeeping for the candy business, and the Restaurant business, which was a lot of work, he had a goodly number of employees, and his bookkeeping was accurate enough the Federal "Internal Revenue Service never had any questions or complaints. Pete and I often wondered how far this exceptional man could have gone, under different circumstances, and had a good education. He opened his businesses in 1920. and shortly America was in the middle of our terrible U.S. Depression.
Then it was time for a wife and family. He sent the word to Mitata, Kythera, to send him a young lady to Wed. Miss Helen (Elenni) Feros arrived in Ellis Island New York in 1924. They had Justice of Peace to marry couples then, and were married at Ellis Island, but she would not consummate the marriage until they were properly married by a Greek Orthodox Priest in Church. I never had the pleasure to know Pete's Mother, she was seriously injured in an auto accident while on vacation, in the mountains of Colorado in 1946, and died a few days later. Pete was age 18, and had been drafted into the Army for WW2. He was stationed in Germany at the time, and brought home through the Salvation Army. She died before he got home, but was there only for the funeral. This happened 2 years before Pete and I met in 1948.
Pop Prineas, was not too happy about his son marrying a Dutch, Irish, girl at first. But he was always kind to me. My father wasn't too happy about it either. We both understood how he wanted a good Greek girl for his son. But we were in love. We were married three years, when Pop told me he was wrong, and that I was better wife, than if he had married a Greek girl. And especially so, after his first grandchild. Elleni (Lynne), born Nov. 26, 1954. Sadly, he held his tiny granddaughter only once, the day before he died peacefully in his sleep, Dec. 11, 1954. She was 15 days old. From the beginning I was accepted pretty good by by his Coumbari, Petros Cassimattis, family. And also, by Pete's beloved Godmother Nona, "Sophia Kontoleon", of St. Louis. MO. She had been a widow for a long time. While visiting in Kythera, many years ago, Nona met Theo and Thea Anna Feros of Sydney Australia. Somehow they connected that he THEO FEROS was the brother of Pete's Mother, ANNA FEROS of Illinois. Since then, they visited us here in Carbondale, Illinois for 6 weeks 1974, and attending our daughter Lynne's wedding. It was wonderful to have someone out of her fathers side of the family, at our daughters wedding. Pete had no family left in this country, except a cousin in Santa Barbara, Calif. since his father died. He had a sister who had died in 1950. at age 24.
But... he loved my family dearly, and they loved him. Also, we visited Australia in 1993, staying with Jim and Nicky Feros for one month. We met so many of Pete's relatives, mostly in Sydney, and others scattered around Sydney, and Pete was delighted. So was I.
About Pete's work: When Pete was in early thirties, he applied for a job that was with the Bussman Fuse Company. St. Louis, the largest fuse company in America, maybe the world. I know Pete had to make trips to New York, to the big shipyards on the ocean. They would be the users of high voltage fuses in the ships. Bussman's were looking for an engineer who was capable of designing High Voltage Fuses. Since high voltage was not birthed then, they did not know how to choose the a capable engineer. They had all applicants to take a test at the Queens Testing Agency in St. Louis. Pete had the highest score of any of the others. They wrote on their recommendation that PRINEAS' intellect was greater than 98% of all people. Furthermore, chances are that Prineas has never had anything to even slightly tax his abilities. He got chosen right away for this position with Bussmans and it was my wonderful husband Peter Prineas who initiated High Voltage in the 1950's. Yet, he was never boisterous, always very humble gentleman. He achieved many other special challenges that were exceptional in his lifetime. He always told me that "he wanted to leave this earth in better shape than he found it." HE DID!!!! We moved to Carbondale from Belleville, Illinois in 1961. Pete was hired for the "Southern Illinois University" and was the Campus Engineer, over the Carbondale campus, and also did the design and over-seeing of the the new campus being built for SIU in Edwardsville about 85 miles away. After finishing that project, Pete decided to hang out his shingle and start his own Engineering Firm. He started the P. G. Prineas & Associates, Consultant Engineers, Electrical and Mechanical on 1965. He was there for 26 years, until retirement at 62.
If Pete were here, he would not say all these things. But I will, I want Pete to be honoured among the wonderful people who are from his distant background. My beloved husband of 48 years had a massive heart attack, December 23, 1999. We had celebrated our 48th anniversary November 11, 1999. He had hardly ever been sick, and 5 days before his massive heart attack, he had drove all the way from Panama City Florida, to Carbondale IL. Around a 15 hour drive. Pete liked everybody, and people were drawn to him. We raised our children with him telling our children, and later
our grandchildren. "You are a PRINEAS and a Prineas lives above reproach." He said that his father had said that to him growing up as well.
Our children have done that very thing. We are very proud of our children and their accomplishments. All three have college degrees, and two advanced degrees. Mary, our youngest, has only to do her dissertation for PHD.
Our marriage was a long and happy one. But I wish that it could have been longer. It will be six years this Christmas since Pete went to be with our lord, at age 72. Almost 6 years. He was one year older than I. October 1, I will be 77 years old, and I still miss him very much. But I know that he is walking on streets of gold, I believe that God is using Pete for some of the most important work than he has ever done on earth. Heaven is much richer now, having my beloved husband Peter G. Prineas there now. I hope that in some way my beloved husband, "Peter Gregory Prineas", and his parents "Gregory Peter Prineas", and mother "Helen Feros Prineas" sister " and his sister Anna Gregorios Prineas" remembered in this project you started for Kytherians. I have a fair amount of pictures from Greece, that are in the steamer trunk that belonged to Pete's mother when she came by ship to America. Pete never knew who most of them were. Pete's mother died when he was only 18 years old, and is father died when he was only 27 years old. I know without a doubt, Pete would have liked the idea of a Kythera cultural archive very much. He was like that.
submitted by Viola Prineas on 15.10.2005
Hello.... I have not been on the internet for a good while. I have had relatives and friends who lost their homes and everything else they owned in Hurricane
Katrina. I hope to be back on here soon. I have some pictures that I have ready to send to have them displayed, and hopefully find out who many of them are. Katrina. Fortunately, they didnt lose their lives. Love, Viola Prineas
Teacher, journalist, poet and author, Sydney NSW Australia
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