In Memoriam – Vivian Arfaras

Remembering Vivian Arfaras

It is with sadness that we report the passing of long-time DOP member Vivian Arfaras.

Sister Vivian was a 37-year member of the Daughters of Penelope and led a full and active life. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her.

We extend our deepest sympathy to her family.

May her memory be eternal.



Vivian Trilivas Arfaras

               1925 -2020

Vivian T. Arfaras passed away peacefully at home due to natural causes after a vibrant life of 94 years.

She was born in Cleveland, OH to James and Stella Trilivas. She was preceded in death by her beloved hus-band, John N. Arfaras, and her loving sister Helen T. Peters. She is survived by her children, Tina (Jim), Steve, and Xanthe.; four grandchildren, Christine (Jorge), Michael (Kally), James, and Joseph; four great-grandchildren, Jack, Jade, James, and Nikitas. Vivian was a retired member of Philoptochos for 50 years as was her mother; a 37 year member of the Daughters of Penelope, and member of both the Florida Association of Legal Support Specialists and West Pasco Legal Support Association. Throughout her younger years, she was very active in church life, mostly choir, in the parishes of Annunciation, Cleveland, OH, the Annunciation, NYC, St. Demetrios, Astoria, Holy Trinity, Clearwater, and choir consultant behind the scenes at St. George due to her mobility issues in the past few years. Thanks to technology, she was well-briefed–to say the least!


An excerpt from Vivian’s Memoirs

“I loved music and the theater! When I was 16, I wanted to work at the Palace Theater in Cleveland, but I had to be 18 to apply, so I faked an ID and was hired as an usherette and also for the candy stand. I wore a light blue uniform with stars on each collar (satin). I escorted people with my flashlight for immediate seating on the upper floors . Lower floor was for standing room only. I met many stage stars like Frank Sinatra, and his generation of performers. I know many untold sto-ries.
In NYC at the Rockefeller Center, I was a legal secretary to ‘Seven Irishmen lawyers’ for Sinclair Refining Co. I watched the St. Patrick’s Day Parade from huge high-rise windows. At the same time, my sister Helen and I performed for many church charities and benefits and also dueted on the Greek Radio Hour and the Spanish Radio Hour. Helen played the mandolin, and I played the guitar while we sang American, Greek, and Spanish songs. Spyros Skouras, President of Twentieth Century Fox, offered me us contracts to Hollywood and a future. He wanted us to perform at the St. Moritz Ho-tel for a weekly salary of $150 (in the 1940’s). Dad said, YES. Mom said NO emphatically, no–no. Excuse was “She raised her girls to sing only for church benefits and functions, not to be exploited in Hollywood.”
Prior to moving to NYC, I attended the Cleveland Institute of Music and took voice lessons. In NY, I sang for the Arthur Godfrey Hour and was the opening act for Danny Thomas at the Manhattan Center when he came to do a benefit perfor-mance for the Furriers National Convention. Later, when we moved to NYC to pursue music, both our college careers were interrupted when my sister and I earned our MRS degrees. So, we did not become Hollywood stars, but we gained wonderful lives with our beautiful children. We both sang in the Annunciation choir. I was a soloist and choir director. Dad, James Trilivas, was the founding president of the present day Annunciation Church in Manhattan. He went door-to-door soliciting donations to buy the Presbyterian Church with its pipe organ, balconies, and inclined seating on the main floor. His name is on a marble plaque in the narthex. By the way, back at the Annunciation in Cleveland, he was awarded a 36” silver trophy for the huge increase in membership under his leadership. Later in NYC, I was secretary to Administra-tor Soltis at the Cancer Memorial Hospital. I was also paid by Rockefeller and Strawbridge Clothier to sign their signature on donation forms and mail.
After moving to Florida in 1967, I really did not get to retire. I worked at Mease Retirement Home, Dunedin as a private duty companion for some Alzheimer patients. My duties included escorting them to the dining room and their bedrooms and keeping record of the meds and activities. At Ponce de Leon Elementary, I was a teacher assistant trying to keep law and order. I was busy at Holy Trinity, Clearwater where I became the first choir leader and soloist. I was also a Sunday School teacher, in the ladies groups, etc. Then I was a secretary at Tina’s Friendly Florist on Drew St. I helped a lot of men come out of the doghouse by helping them write poetic lines for their floral orders, processed the orders on the FTD computer, directed the drivers, and had a lot of fun. Of course, in the afternoon, I became a Yiayia taxi, picking up the grandchildren and driving them to Greek School and sports–via McDonald’s at their very strong urging!!! My days contin-ued into the evening when my mother (Grandma Stella) and I baby sat, enforced homework over Nintendo, etc. The love of my life was my husband, John Arfaras. We played the guitars together and Helen played the mandolin, along with my music teacher who had retired here. We sang and played music for endless hours and danced tangos and rumbas at the Columbia Restaurant. John wrote beautiful poetry in English and Greek and many articles pertaining to politics for the Tribune. He was born in Tampa and highly educated, and his family was one of the founding families of Tarpon Springs. Smoking cigarettes killed him!
I enjoy watching my great-grandchildren. I remember how much I loved the Cleveland Indians baseball games, roller skating, running the bases, bike riding, and playing the Spanish guitar and singing. I loved to cook non-stop and bake. I see they are sharing their culture and my recipes at school and being rewarded for good grades doing it! Our local family has grown to about 60 people. As the cycle of life continues with the newest generation, I hope they will have many hap-py memories and learn about their ancestors. (They are upset with me for misplacing Babe Ruth’s autograph!!!) Had I known what I know now about collectibles!!!”