Constantin Kostas of Maryland, Formerly of Haverhill, MA, Passes Away


Constanin Kostas, age ninety-eight, passed away on July 8,2013, in Maryland. His friends knew him as Charlie. Charlie Kostas was born in Haverhill Massachusetts on May 11, 1915. He was the second child and the first son of the four children of Angela and James Kostas. When he was still an infant the family repatriated to their homeland., the island of Mitilini, Greece,where the young Constantin grew up. The return to Greece was by no means a smooth and uneventful journey. The family--Constantin,an infant at the time-- his mother, father and sister Evangeline, attempted to enter Turkey where they held a business, a shoe factory. They did so with great peril. They found themselves compelled to land on Turkish soil only to fall into a bloody skirmish of Turks massacring Greeks at the start of the Greatcoat-Turkish war. They barely escaped with their lives, obtaining a boat and eventually arriving in Mitilini,Greece, their home. Constantin had fond memories of their house by orchards near the ocean. He went to school at the Lyceum in Mitilini and spent summers in the village of Skalohori.

At the young age of seventeen, Constantin traveled alone to the United States, arriving in New York and then finding his way to Grand Central station, then to Boston and finally to Haverhill, Massachusetts,where he then lived with his godparents, Helen and Ignatio, and his older sister Evangeline. At that time he went to work in the shoe factory established by his father.

Constantin, now often known as Charley, was determined to get a good education. He entered Northeastern University in Boston, MA,where he studied Civil engineering. He went to school at night and worked during the day. He continued to pursue his education through the Massachusetts University extension even when the responsibilities of marriage and children came along. Charley became a Naval Architect and Marine Engineer. Early on, he worked at the Boston shipyard and then at the Bureau of ships in Quincy MA. At that time The Quincy Shipyard was number One of the big U.S. shipbuilders and could build any ship.

During World War 2 Constanin was conscripted into the army and prepared to be sent overseas to serve his country. However, Bethlehem Steel expanded during World War II and Constantin was sent back to work to at the shipyard, in order to serve his country in a different way-- working under the Emergency Shipbuilding Program of the United States Maritime.

Early in 1948, Charlie met his future wife Paskalia (Polly), now departed from us, through their mutual friends, George and Dreamy Tremos. They married on December 26, 1948 at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Boston. They lived in an apartment in Dorchester, Massachusetts for several years, then moved to a home in Braintree Massachusetts, where they lived and raised three children.

In the 1960s Constantine left the Quincy ship yard which was eventually sold to the General Dynamics Corporation. Constantin had already undertaken other plans for his future. He entered government service, and worked in the U.S. Navy Department in Washington D.C. as a Naval Architect. The family was separated for a while. However, Constantin and coworkers from Quincy made it a point to drive back to their families every weekend, something his children and their Mom all looked forward to with great anticipation. Eventually, it was evident that this move to Washington was a permanent change and so in 1964 the family-- Charlie, Polly, and children, Jeanne,George, and Christopher--moved to Maryland to be all together. Initially they lived in Suitland, Maryland while their new home in Bowie was being built, then moved into their new home later that year.

While with the Navy Department, Constantin was one of the major team which designed and managed construction of several ships built and put into service, including 5 LSDs36, Amphibious Dock landing ships with manned helicopters on ship, five RS50 rescue vehicles, designed at the Navy Department in the 1960s, and the the Anchorage, a vessel designed at the navy department in the 60s. The Anchorage was the first ship built which had women crew, and so the first one to be designed to accommodate both men and women. Constantine had said how gratifying it was to him that a woman on that first crew was later the Captain of her own Navy Rescue vessel!

After two decades in Bowie, Maryland, filled with work, friends, and community activities, trips to Greece, Canada, and Mexico, Charlie and Polly moved once again. They relocated to the Collington Episcopal Life Care Community where they entered into a retirement period filled with new friends and interesting activities. During this time Polly and Charlie were members of St. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Annapolis, Maryland. However, in 2009 sadness entered. On February 11, 2009, Polly (Paskalia) Kostas, Constantin's beloved wife, and mother of Jeanne, George, and Christopher, passed away, leaving a void in all of our hearts. We miss her greatly.

Constantin is survived by his brother George Kostas of Houston Texas, George's wife, Leah, daughters Ann, Georgia, Pamela, and Cynthia, grandson George and granddaughter Stephany.

Constantin is survived by his daughter, Jeanne Kostas, and sons John, Christopher and Michael McFarland of Delmar, New York:, his son George Kostas, wife Gail, and their son Andrew of Laural, Maryland,and his son Christopher Kostas, wife Betty and their sons Franklin and James of Amherst, Massachusetts

He is survived by his grandchild Anita and her husband of California and his grandchild Pamela and her son of California.

He is survived by nephews Stephen Kalpaxis, Dr. James Kalpaxis, his niece Anita Jones, her daughter Maria,and husband Ralph, all of Austin Texas.

Constantin is predeceased by his beloved wife Polly, his beloved son Frank, the father of Anita and Pamela, who sadly departed prematurely in 2002, his beloved mother Angela Kostas and sisters Evangeline Zoukis and Athena Kalpaxis, his brother-in-law, Father George Kalpaxis, his brother-in law, John Zoukis, niece Cleo Zoukis, and nephew John Zoukis.

The funeral service for Constantine was held at St. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church on Riva Road, Annapolis, Maryland with burial at St. Demetrios Cemetery, Riva Road, Annapolis.

(Posting date 21 September 2013. Obituary submitted by Jeanne Kostas of Delmar, NY.)

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