October 16, 1924 – March 08, 2020 (age 95)
On Sunday, March 8, 2020, John Kokaliaris passed away peacefully surrounded by
his children. Preceded in death 7 months earlier by his cherished wife Christina.
John was a devoted husband and family man. He loved his wife, children and
John was born in the village of Aggelona “Village of Angels” in Laconia, Greece on
October 16, 1924 to the parents of Dimitrios and Ligeri. He also had one loving
sibling named Margarita.
John’s life reads like a century old history book. He lived through the Great
Depression. As a young adult, he resisted German Nazi occupation on the side of
the allies during WWII. At the end of the war, John was drafted in the first
organized Greek Royal army post WWII and fought in the Greek Civil war from
1946-49. He was wounded 4 times and miraculously survived. Three months after
his rehabilitation, John was asked to serve as an “Evzone” aka “Tsiolas” for the
Greek Presidential Guard. He declined because he didn’t like the klepft military
uniform they wore.
Soon afterwards, John returned home to Aggelona and worked 20 hour days in
the olive mill and on the family farms in Agios Ioannis, Monemvasia. In 1956,
John decided to make a better life for himself and immigrated to Canada on the
Vulcania. With hard work and wits, he made a successful life for himself and his
family. Working for the Toronto Maple Leafs organization for 40 years and
affectionately named “Big John”, he witnessed the last Leafs Stanley Cup win in
1967. He knew many “greats” such as Tim Horton, Lanny McDonald, Dave Keon,
Darryl Sittler and many more!
In 1966, he married his love Christina and was blessed to have 3 children:
Legare/Ligeri (Bob), Jim (Dimitrios), and Georgina (Angelos). John lead a quiet, but
exciting life. In his retirement, he enjoyed gardening, taking care of his
grandchildren, spending time with his family and travelling to Greece.
We will miss this quiet, gentle giant of a man dearly!
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