Pauline Papadakes passed away peacefully on January 25, 2022, after succumbing to complications brought on by Covid-19. She was 82 years old and as strong-willed as ever.

“Pitsa,” as she was known to family and friends, was born April 25, 1939, in the small village of Elika, located in Laconia, Greece. It was there where she met the love of her life, a young, strapping Harry “Lambi” Papadakes who, at the time, was a controversial five years older than her and, at first, not as interested. “She was very young,” he would say, “she was fifteen years old, and I was about to move to the US.” As fate would have it, their paths would cross a few more times that year before he moved away. Pauline quickly developed a crush.

Always one to keep to his word, Harry left for the US in 1955, subsequently drafted into the US army in 1956. By this time, Harry and Pauline had started a long-distance correspondence. Through these letters, they grew close, fell in love, and plotted their future wedding and imminent move to the US. In 1958, after his honorable discharge, Harry returned to Greece and married Pauline three short weeks later. A few months later, on March 25, 1959, they embarked to New York City on the Queen Frederica ship. A new life lay ahead.

They moved to Jersey City, NJ, where their daughter, Sophia, was born in the following years. Pauline was a loyal homemaker, mother, and wife during this time. They stayed in New Jersey until Harry bought a restaurant from his uncle in 1965, which brought the family to their ultimate destination of Norristown, PA. In Norristown, Pauline got involved with the Hellenic Civic Association and later played an integral role in founding St. Sophia / Ss. Faith, Hope, and Agape Greek Orthodox Church in Valley Forge, PA. She quickly became a leader in the Greek community, serving as president of the church’s Philoptochos Society, the philanthropic arm of the church.

Having benefited herself from electrolysis treatments when she was young, Pauline loved the feeling of helping other women and men feel more comfortable in their skin. Ever entrepreneurial and desperately wanting to expand her budget for shoes, clothes, handbags, and makeup, Pauline earned her electrolysis certificate in 1978. She opened her hair removal practice with this certificate, which she later passed on to her daughter, Sophia.

She was also a doting grandmother to her one and only granddaughter, Theodora, whom she treasured, helped raise and allowed to raid her incredible closet for clothes and accessories. Pauline always had the best taste.

Throughout her life, Pauline touched many lives. She was always there to invite a new face to coffee, lunch, or dinner, and she jumped at the opportunity to share her love of Greek traditions and customs with others. Described by friends and family as “one of the most gracious, graceful, generous, kind, warm, and open-hearted people” they have met, Pauline left an enduring mark on those around her. She taught us all how to laugh with each other and how to love one another—openly, wholly, and unabashedly. She also fed us incredibly well. We will remember her as the woman who had it all and gave it all, always beckoning with open arms to come to join her at the table once more.

Pauline is survived by her husband and life partner of sixty-three years, Harry; her two younger sisters, Xanthoula and Matoula; her daughter, Sophia; and her granddaughter, Theodora.

Relatives and friends are invited to a visitation with her family on Tuesday, February 1, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. EST at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church of Valley Forge, PA, followed by the funeral service at 11:00 a.m. EST. Interment will follow the funeral at Riverside Cemetery in West Norriton, PA.

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we kindly request those in attendance to wear masks and maintain social distance. For the safety of the family and guests, those who are immunocompromised or unvaccinated should stay home and join us virtually at 11:00 a.m. EST via the Livestream link.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions are made in Pauline’s memory to St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church.