John P. Thanos

Published 10:22 pm Thursday, May 30, 2013

SUFFOLK — John P. Thanos passed away on Tuesday, May 28, in Suffolk. He was 91 years old. Mr. Thanos was a loving husband and father, sportsman and businessman. He was the owner of the Crystal Restaurant in Suffolk until 1988. The Crystal Restaurant at 116 W. Washington St. was the hub of downtown Suffolk for more than 50 years and was the primary meeting place for Suffolk’s business and professional leaders throughout that entire area.

John was born in Fitchburg, Mass., on Sept. 5, 1921, and moved to Suffolk with his family in 1932. He graduated from Suffolk High School in 1941, lettering in six sports and becoming one of the greatest athletes ever to graduate from Suffolk High School. He was drafted into the Army in 1943 and was an infantryman in the famous “Thunderbolt” 83rd Infantry division during World War II. He participated in the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944 and was wounded on July 3, 1944, in route to Cartan, France in Normandy. He received the Purple Heart. He served the remaining years of the war in France and returned to the United States after the war in December 1946. Upon return, he and his brother Charles P. Thanos of Weldon, N.C., formed the Thanos Brothers Partnership, where they jointly owned and managed their restaurants and scores of real estate and commercial property investments in both North Carolina and Virginia. That business endured and thrived until Charlie’s passing in April 2001.

John was a passionate advocate of athletics and competition. He began golfing shortly after his return from the war and played regularly well into his late 80s. He was an original member of the Suffolk Charitable Association and was the Suffolk Golf Association champion in 1969. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of Tidewater area sports and athletes dating back to the 1930s. He passed on his love of sports and his knowledge of professional and amateur basketball, football, baseball, tennis and golf to his family. He also stressed the importance of honesty, fairness and perseverance.

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He was a long time member of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Norfolk. He was a member of the Suffolk Golf Association, Elks USA and Suffolk Nansemond Historical Society.

He is survived by his devoted and loving wife of 46 years, Voula T. Thanos, of Suffolk; sons, Paul J. Thanos, of Washington, D.C., and Theodore J. Thanos, of Alexandria; daughter -in-law, Beth Thanos; two grandchildren, Kelly Thanos and John T. Thanos; sisters-in-law, Olympia Plethos, Athena Markos, Helen Adams and Ann Thanos; nephew, George Dakos; and many other nieces and nephews.

A funeral service will be conducted on Saturday, June 1, 2013, at 11:30 a.m. at R.W. Baker and Company Funeral Home and Crematory, 509 W. Washington St., Suffolk. Interment will follow at Holly Lawn Cemetery. A visitation will be held on Friday, May 31, 2013, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the funeral home. Friends and family are invited to a luncheon at George’s Steakhouse, 1260 Holland Road, Suffolk, following the interment. Condolences may be registered online at www. rwbakerfh.com.