Elias “Louie” A. Horiates, age 87, of Cherry Hill, passed away on May 12, 2021. Beloved husband of Hrisoula (nee Frangos) Devoted father of Stamatoula (Konstantinos) Mavrophilipos of Maryland, Angelo Horiates of Mount Laurel, Constantine “Gus” (Georganne) Horiates of Cherry Hill, and John (Galene) Horiates of Broomall, PA. Loving grandfather of 7 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Loving brother of Sophie Frangos, Angelo Horiates, Dimitrios Horiates, Georgia Frangos, Zachary Horiates and predeceased George Horiates, Irene Poulos, and Evangelos Horiates. Also survived by many many beloved nieces and nephews.
Louie was a retired plumber, having worked at Hutchinson Plumbing for over 40 years. He was a past President of Saint Thomas Greek Orthodox Church, a past President of AHEPA Camden Chapter 69, and also a past president of the Pan Icarian Brotherhood Chapter Atheras.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend his viewing Tuesday 10:00 am -11:00 am at St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church, 615 Mercer St. Cherry Hill, followed by funeral services at 11:00 am. Interment Locustwood Memorial Park, Cherry Hill. The family requests in lieu of flowers, donations to St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church Building Fund.
Elias Horiates was born on October 16, 1933, in the village of Perdikion, on the island of Icaria, west of Samos. His father, Angelo, who had served in the Greek army as an instructor during the late 1920s, immigrated to America prior to the onset of WWII. His wife and children remained on the island, as was often the case, while the family males pursued economic relief in distant lands.
Elias was eight years old when Mussolini’s Italian marines occupied Icaria in 1941. The island was subsequently occupied by German troops in September 1943, following Italy’s capitulation to the Allies. The Italian occupation initiated three years of systematic starvation, lasting until October 1944, when the Germans withdrew from the mainland and its islands. The enemy occupiers confiscated the existing food stocks, crops, and livestock and restricted the islanders from fishing the surrounding waters. As the enemy confiscation of food intensified, the early morning collection of bodies of those having expired overnight from starvation became a daily event. Elias recounted having observed his mother being physically abused by one of the Italian marines during the onset of the occupation.
The day following America’s entry into WWII found Elias’ father, Angelo, then living and working on the east coast, enlisted in the US Army. As a consequence of his fluency in both Greek and English, he was sent to Camp Carson for his basic training, where he trained with many Hellenic-Americans from which the legendary “Greek Battalion” was organized by the OSS. The group of approximately 200 enlisted men and officers saw service in Greece and Yugoslavia behind enemy lines during 1944. Elias’ father did not serve with any of the Greek Battalion’s platoon-sized units in Greece but did serve with the OSS in pursuing security confirmation of suspect groups or individuals in North America. For his military service during WWII, his father was granted US citizenship.
In September 1946, Elias, with his mother and siblings, moved from Icaria to Athens, where passage and vistas were arranged for their journey to America. They sailed aboard a US Army troop ship from Piraeus to New York in 13 days. The family settled in Camden, NJ, where Elias’ father entered the restaurant business and children attended local schools.
On August 9, 1956, Elias was drafted into the US Army. He reported to Fort Dix, NJ, for eight weeks of infantry basic training and then to Camp Campbell, KY, for eight weeks of special training to become a combat engineer. In March 1957, as a member of the 168th Engineer Battalion, his unit sailed from New York for occupied West Germany. The unit’s destination was Camp Nelligen near Nuremberg. His unit arrived during two current crises: the escalating “Cold War” between NATO nations and the Soviet Bloc countries and the less-publicized dispute between President DeGaulle of France with NATO.
Elias describes how, as a heavy equipment operator in the battalion, his unit was designated to dismantle US Army Military Depots (i.e., NATO) in southern France and transfer the equipment and vehicles there to new depots in Germany. DeGaulle had at that time withdrawn France from NATO membership. During his two-year tour of duty in occupied Germany, Elias became acquainted with a small but hospitable community of Greeks who were employees of the local industries. The community was a sufficient size, however, to have a modest Greek Orthodox Church, which was the focal point of the community’s religious and cultural observances. Also, while with his unit, there were occasions to meet his brother, George, a US Army Ranger then also stationed in Germany. Periodic furloughs permitted him to visit other countries in Western Europe and, as well, Greece and his former home in Icaria. He met his bride-to-be on the island, and when his enlistment expired, he requested discharge in Germany with a 60-day termination leave, thus enabling him to wed his fiancé in Icaria. Elias, with his wife, Hrisoula (Frangos), returned to Camden, NJ, and became a heating and plumbing contractor. Their family included a daughter and three sons. He continued to serve his country by entering the 469th Engineer Battalion of the US Army Reserve Corps, where he was a platoon sergeant and instructor. He was honorably discharged in July 1962 after having served his country for six years.