Jerry Kahrilas (85) of Broomall, PA, beloved husband of Irene, peacefully passed on April 23, 2017. Survived by beloved children, Constance (Harry Bandy), and Angeliki (Basil Karayannis) and cherished grandchildren Nicholas (Rachel Kimchi), Andrea (Michael Kiotis), Elaina, and Michael. He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather who enjoyed spending time with his entire extended family.
Jerry was born on the Ionian island of Ithaki, Greece on August 27, 1931. He grew up on the island during the occupation of Ithaki by the Italian, and later the German soldiers in the second world war. At a very young and impressionable age, he saw much hunger, destruction, and poverty on the island. This experience left him with an indelible determination to leave the small island in search of a better life – and so, he joined the Merchant Marines.
After a couple of years of traveling at sea, his ship docked in the United States. He immediately knew that this was the country in which he wanted to establish his roots. With the prospect and vision of the “American Dream,” Jerry began his journey in the U.S. in Houston, Texas.
Like many new immigrants, Jerry did not speak the language and had no immediate relatives here in the States to help him get started. With just the money in his pocket and the strong fortitude to make a good living, he got his first job in the restaurant business washing dishes. After several restaurant and hotel jobs, he moved to Chicago, then Florida, then towards Atlantic City, to join up with his Uncle who now lived in Pleasantville, NJ.
There he met, Irene (nee Markellos) and five years later, they were married at the old Annunciation Church in Philadelphia. After the birth of their first child Constance (Connie), they moved to Upper Darby. Four years later, their second child, Angeliki (Kiki), was born. Soon after, Jerry & Irene moved to the Drexel Hill area.
During this time period, Jerry started his career with the Sheraton Hotel on JFK Boulevard in Philadelphia. He rose through various positions of increasing responsibility during his tenure at the Sheraton. Upon retiring from the hotel, he obtained the position of Director of Catering. In this role, he met many dignitaries, celebrities, and politicians. With the imminent closing of the hotel, Jerry and Irene decided to pursue their own restaurant business.
Together they opened up and ran three successful restaurants in the Philadelphia area. The Warehouse, an elegant, novelty restaurant; the Washington Square Restaurant, in a vibrant, busy business district of Philadelphia; and Mrs. K’s Koffee Shop, a small eatery in the historic section of Philadelphia.
Jerry was a very committed member of the Greek Community – he served on the Board at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Upper Darby, and was an active member of the AHEPA Thermopylae Chapter 445. He loved to golf, garden, and watch football (especially with his Grandson, Michael).
Friends and family are invited to attend his service:
Friday, April 28th, viewing from 10 am–11 am, and funeral service following at 11 am at St. Luke Greek Orthodox Church, 35 N. Malin Rd, Broomall, PA. Instead of flowers, donations may be made directly to St. Luke.