Antigone Christou (nee Hadginikolas), 84 of Willingboro NJ, a matriarch who dedicated herself to raising her family, died on Wednesday, February 12.

Born and raised in Ardana, Cyprus, she lived there with her parents Kyriako and Christina and sister Thekla. At age 18, she married her husband Antonis Christou and moved to Agios Elias, Cyprus, where they raised their four children Christos, Kyriakos, Eleni, and Andreas. Together they built a thriving agricultural business owning and managing hundreds of hectares of land.

However, on August 16, 1974, the perfect life they had was disrupted when, in the dark of night, they were forced to immediately evacuate their home due to the illegal Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Becoming refugees, they were left with little personal belongings and, for nearly three years, had no place to call home.

While refugees and living in poverty in Cyprus, Antigone and Antoni had a reputation for caring and sharing what they had with other refugees they encountered. Undeterred by circumstances in 1977, the family migrated to America and settled in Willingboro, NJ, where Antigone resided until her passing. They were blessed to have built their fortune again, but Antigone’s greatest riches was the strong family bonds.

Throughout her life, Antigone remained a model of faith, a spirit of strength, and an image of gentleness. Her legacy is highlighted by her unwavering faith in Jesus Christ, her intense selflessness, and her loving devotion to family.

She loved to attend church, to read, garden, cook, and volunteer. She celebrated her Cypriot heritage and seized every opportunity to revel her roots. Most of all, she cherished time with family, especially her grandchildren and great-granddaughters. Surrounded by love at home, she passed this life with reverence to God, and her last breath with prayer gave Him thanks for the blessed life He granted her and her family.

She is survived by her sister Thekla in Cyprus, her four children Christos (Maria), Kyriakos (Toni Ann), Helen (Stavros), and Andreas (Diana). She is also survived by nine grandchildren Antoni (Kayla), Michael (Grace), Joseph, Antonis, Rafael, Antigone, Eleni, Alexander and Andoni, and two great-granddaughters Lucia and Hadley, her in-laws Artemis and Christina Christou, Peter and Eleni Loucas and many nieces, nephews and Godchildren.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend her viewing Saturday, February 15, 10 am – 12 am at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Thomas 615 Mercer St., Cherry Hill, NJ, followed by the funeral at noon. The family requests in lieu of flowers, donations to be made to the St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church Iconography fund.