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CANFIELD – The Greek Orthodox community is suffering the loss of one of its finest citizens and community servants on the local, state and national levels with the passing of Past Supreme President of the Order of AHEPA, Cleo N. Zambetis, on Thursday, July 18, at Hospice House in Youngstown, Ohio.

Cleo’s journey in America began as a small boy who traveled with his mother from the island of Samos, Greece, where he was born to the parents of John and Katina Nicolaou Zambetis on Nov. 23, 1925, and ended leaving a great legacy of leadership and service while surrounded by his loving and supportive wife of 64 years, Faye Arfaras Zambetis, and the daughters he loved so dearly, Kathy Conrad and Tulla Zambetis, in the place that he was always proud to call home, Youngstown, Ohio.

A great champion of Hellenism, Cleo emerged as a leader early on while serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He received an Honorable Discharge in 1946 for injuries sustained during a Japanese Kamikaze suicide attack on his ship in the waters off Okinawa on April 2, 1945.

A 1943 graduate of Campbell Memorial High School, Cleo was a founding member and Godfather of Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church in his beloved hometown of Campbell, Ohio, which was founded in 1954. His lifelong stewardship in the church also includes membership at St. John the Forerunner Church in Boardman, Ohio, where he has served on the Parish Council Board of Directors and where, with his wife, he remained active. From his stewardship and theosis, he received the singular highest honor bestowed upon a lay person within the Greek Orthodox Church, being named an Archon with the title Megas Referandarios by His All Holiness the late Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios I of Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey, in 1985.

A successful entrepreneur and businessman, Mr. Zambetis founded CAMCO Painting Service which he steered as its CEO for over 50 years, providing accomplished commercial, industrial, and electrical utility painting services. He also served as Past President of the Mahoning and Trumbull County Painting and Decorating Trade Association. Additionally, he was a Master Mason member and a member of the Youngstown Shrine Club, The Al Koran Temple and Aut Mori Grotto.

Next to God and his family, Cleo’s most cherished affiliation was with the Order of AHEPA – The American Hellenic Progressive Association. Little did he know that when he was initiated into Youngstown Lincoln Chapter #89 in 1960, that he would go on to serve the fraternal organization for some 50 years, in many capacities. In 1984, culminating in being unanimously elected by the delegates to serve as Supreme President at the National Convention in Miami Beach, Fla., he was the first AHEPAN from the state of Ohio to be elevated to the national presidency. During his tenure he traveled extensively throughout the United States and Greece, having met with world leaders and dignitaries in the cause of service to Hellenic ideals and with accomplishments that have been well recorded: Establishing the John G. Thevos AHEPA Institute of Hellenic Studies at Deree College in Athens, Greece; Creating an AHEPA Olympic Study Group; The expansion of AHEPA’s national headquarters in Washington, D.C., was successfully spearheading the drive to build an apartment housing complex for the elderly via support of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 1996, Cleo proudly led the 3.9 million dollar construction of AHEPA 89 Apartments in Boardman, Ohio, to accomplish his dream of bringing a home for the elderly to the Mahoning Valley, and he served for many years as Director of that local complex.

Of all of his many accomplishments, awards and community service, however honorable, his favorite role was that of a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He will leave a great void in the lives of his devoted wife, Faye, his beloved daughters Kathy and Tulla, and his pride and joy - his loving grandson, Jonathan Conrad and wife Lisa who blessed him last year with a beautiful great-granddaughter, Avery Faye – and his adoring granddaughter, Kristin Conrad and her fiancé, Stefano Redaelli. Cleo also leaves a brother, Arist Zambetis, and sister, Mary Birmingham, both who meant very much to him, as well as a host of other family members and friends.

Preceding Cleo in death was his loving brother, Gus Zambetis; his goddaughter, Janice Glaros Pantel; and his wonderful son-in-law whom he loved like a son, Ted Conrad.

The life story of Cleo N. Zambetis well exemplifies his Hellenic view and illustrates the lesson of St. Luke: “He is like a man who built a house and dug deep, laying a solid foundation.”

There will be calling hours from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 23, at St. John Greek Orthodox Church, 4355 Glenwood Ave., Boardman, Ohio, where funeral services will begin at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Boardman, Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church in Campbell, The AHEPA Buckeye Scholarship Foundation, or Hospice House.

Arrangements are by Vaschak- Kirilla Funeral Home.

“Rest well, faithful servant. May his memory be eternal.”

Guestbook Entries

Kathy's friend

“My deepest sympathy to you and your family. May God bless you all in this time of loss.”

 » Diane White on July 21, 2013

Kathy's friend

“My deepest sympathy to you and your family. May God bless you all in this time of loss.”

 » Diane White on July 21, 2013

Friend to family

“My prayers are to your family and loved ones, such a wonderful ,life and an honor to have know you and contributions to community and such a strong beautiful family love Kim ”

 » Kim Hernandez on July 21, 2013

“Faye and Family my deepest sympathy for your loss.”

 » Mary Frangos on July 21, 2013

“Faye and Family my deepest sympathy for your loss.”

 » Mary Frangos on July 21, 2013

“Fay,Kathy and Tulla, So sorry to read in todays Vindy the passing of Cleo. My thoughts and prayers are with you three today. Lida”

 » Lida Torrence on July 21, 2013

“Mrs. Zambetis, Kathy, and especially Tulla, My sincere regrets and sympathy to you at the loss of the patriarch of your family and of his community. My prayers are with all of you.”

 » Brenda Woodworth Chronister on July 21, 2013

“I am so sorry for your loss Of Cleo. He was such a gentleman and always made me feel so good even the last time I saw him. Kathy and Tulla you are so blessed to have such a special man for your Father. He is in heaven with Ted and the rest of your family with no more pain and suffering. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. ”

 » Bev Baker on July 21, 2013

Tulla's friend

“Praying for you and your family during this difficult time...May the Lord provide comfort and peace!”

 » Evelyn Suarez on July 22, 2013

“May you find peace and comfort during this difficult time of your life. Remember those things that make you laugh and smile.”

 » Angela H. McKinley on July 22, 2013

“My deepest sympathy to all of you during this sad time. I will always remember Cleo with respect, admiration and warm thoughts of all the wonderful times as the Ahepa Conventions. My prayers are with you all. Rest in peace my dear friend. Zoi se sas.”

 » Debbie Fletcher on July 22, 2013

“Kathy, Our hearts are saddened on the loss of your father. From the pictures we have seen, we can see that you were Daddy's little girl. Remember he is with you everyday and he will give you the strength to be there for your Mom and family. Somehow and someway God guides us through these troubled waters. We would be there with you to say farewell but circumstances have made it impossible. Know that we are with you in spirit. God speed Cleo”

 » Barb Alexander and Margaret Micco on July 23, 2013

“Been thinking of all of you all day. Sending you love & hugs. I'm grateful to have known Cleo. He was truly an inspiring yet down to earth gem of a man. Zoe se sas.”

 » Nick Manolukas on July 23, 2013

Gus's son

“My dad loved you guys I always remembered him talking about Cleo. So sorry for the loss. May his memory be eternal.”

 » Perry Alexandrides on July 23, 2013

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