In Memoriam – Jimmy Koutsos

 

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KOUTSOS, JAMES (DEMETRIOS)
80, of New Port Richey FL died
Dec. 21, 2015 at Largo Medical Center. Born in Kouluri suburb of Sparta Greece, was a shepherd. He arrived in the USA, Long Island New York Oct 29, 1955. Jim came to New Port Richey 1970 & established the Spartan Restaurant, now one of the largest catering establishments in West Pasco. Survived by his wife Judith of 55 years & six children Nick, Anthony, Laura Sue, Leander, Theodore & Daphne, 10 Grandchildren & 3 Great Grandchildren.

 

 

James Koutsos Biography

The community has been stunned by the sudden passing of Jimmy Koutsos. Born April 28, 1935 and passed December 21, 2015, he was the founder and owner of the Spartan Manor for 45 years.

Jim Koutsos was born in Kouluri, a very small village in the mountains outside of Varvitsa Greece, a suburb of Sparta. He was a shepherd and tended his flock until the age of 20 when he journeyed to America. On October 22, 1955 Demetrios Antonios Koutsogiannis (Jimmy) arrived in New York with $7.00 in his pocket.

He lived in Freeport, Long Island working for his Uncle in a family owned restaurant. After a few years when he learned enough English and how to drive a car, he moved on to part owning and managing another Uncle’s restaurant at Long Island’s largest privately owned Nick’s Marina in Merrick. In 1961-62 Jim and Judith moved to Los Angeles California where their first son Nickos was born. He worked in a pancake house in Hollywood and served many famous stars breakfast, including one of his favorite actors, Clint Eastwood before returning to Long Island late in 1962. In the late 60’s another Uncle taught Jim the butcher business which he eventually purchased and became a successful butcher at the Koutsos Meat Market.

In 1969 Jim and his wife Judith moved to Florida and in 1970 he purchased a tiny cafe in New Port Richey on Massachusetts Ave named Lynn’s Drive Inn, despite never being a drive inn! The name was changed to Koutsos Spartan Restaurant and became popular instantly which led to multiple expansions and improvements. Jimmy eventually purchased the entire block and in 1985 demolished the building and built the Spartan Manor which is now one of the largest Banquet Hall establishments in West Pasco.

Over the years, nearly every organization and non-profit event in the area has benefited from his in-kind, financialDSC_3403 support and event planning resources. Jimmy was an Ahepan, Mason, Shriner, and Rotarian. He started the first restaurant association for West Pasco and sat on the State Board of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) in Tallahassee for 25 years. He was one of the founding members of the FRPG- Florida Restaurant Purchasing Group. He also brought AHEPA to the community in 1973 and formed the local chapter 489. Jimmy’s passion, the AHEPA Senior Living Apartments, a low – income center for seniors, became a reality after he purchased the land on Rowan Road and facilitated the construction and opening of the Ahepa 489 Apartments in 2003. His new goal was to push forward through mounds of red tape to add another building.

Golfing was his favorite hobby and he played in hundreds of charity tournaments including 7 years with the Charlie Daniels events. He enjoyed golf courses all over the US and spent two weeks in Ireland with several local doctors playing as much as two courses in a day. His other passion was playing cards, often until 4:00 a.m. with his sons and grandchildren. He loved to have his family gathered around the table together, and would often exclaim, “Get off the Spacebook and play cards!”

Jim is survived by his wife of 55 years Judith Anna and six children Nickos, Anthony, Laura Sue, Leander, Theodore and Daphne as well as 10 Grandchildren and 3 Great Grandchildren.

In the ancient Greek language of the New Testament stands the word poimen, which means Shepherd, someone who the Lord raises up to care for the total well-being of his flock. To his family, Jimmy was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin and friend to all who knew him.

To us all in the West Pasco Community, he was our shepherd just like the biblical definition. God raised this humble Greek shepherd boy to care for the well-being of so many of us. This was apparent at his 80th birthday celebration with 450 guests in attendance, the immense respect and admiration he had because of the personal impact of his life on so many.

This boy from Greece never stopped shepherding us, for the job of a shepherd is keeping the flock fed and since the 1970’s, he consistently fed people in our area with the finest meals. He was guiding his flock, and without a doubt gave us all wise counsel. If you were in a spot, you asked him for advice, he would be a true friend and tell you the truth, even if it hurt. He was the greatest peacemaker, and a shepherd who watched over his flock. He instinctively knew exactly when to step in and give you a nudge.

For a man from such humble beginnings with no education and no support or help from anyone to achieve his lifetime goals, he will truly receive a Life Time Achievement award in Heaven. May he rest in the arms of the Savior, until we meet again in heaven, and as his great friend Pete would say, “Thanks for stopping by”.

Jimmy left a lasting impact on our community and his legacy will live on in our memories. His family’s respect and admiration will never fade. He will be greatly missed.

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