Lagakos Family Records
Biographical Notes and Records of the Greece-Pennsylvania Lagakos family and relations including Liacouras, Arfanis and Rengepes
1935 standing l to r: Evangelos George (Frank) Rengepes (later Rennis), our ancestor Helen Rengepes (later Lagakos), Cleopatra (Claire) Rengepes (later DePaul),
Angeles (Anne) Rengepes (later Lofuno), Pericles George (James) Rengepes with seated father George Pericles Rengepes
Lagakos Family Records
The founder of the our branch of the Lagakos family in the United states was Vasilios Stavros Lagakos (William Stephen Lagakos as he will be called hereafter). William Lagakos, ancestor of this account of the Pennsylvania Lagakos family, was born in Kastania, Laconia, in the Peloponnesus of Greece on July 8, 1908. The oldest of 5 children, he was selected to emigrate to the United States by his family in order to earn a living not then available in Greece. After arriving in New York City in 1936, he worked for a number of years in his uncle's restaurant in Manhattan. In 1944, he married Helen Rengepes, who was born in Wilmington, Delaware on October 12, 1915.
William Stephen Lagakos's parents were Stavros Vasilios Lagakos born in 1887 and Panayiota Arfanis Lagakos born in 1884. Both were born in the small mountain village of Kastania north of Gytheio in Laconia, Greece. Stavros Vasilios Lagakos died in Kastania, and Panayiota Lagakos died in Athens in 1961.
Kastania in the mountains of Laconia in the south of Greece
Panayiota Arfanis Lagakos 1884-1961
Our ancestor Stavros Vasilios Lagakos was the son of Vasilios Stavros Lagakos and Kostantina Exarchakos, born in Kastania. Panayiota Arfanis Lagakos was the daughter of Nicolaos Polidoros Arfanis (born in Kastania in 1856) and Demetra Moutzourides Arfanis (born 1864).
1952: Michaelis (Mike) Lagakos with mother Panayiota Lagakos and brother Polidoros (Billio) Lagakos
Stavros and Panayiota Lagakos had five children:
- our ancestor William Stephen Lagakos born July 8, 1908.
- Evangalia Lagakos born in 1915 who married Dinos Kapsalis. They had ten children.
- Georgios Stavros Lagakos born in 1919 who married Vasiliki Lagakos. They had two children: Panayiota Lagakos Athanasakos and Stavros Georgios Lagakos.
- Michaelis Stavros Lagakos born in 1922 and he married Katina Lagakos. They had a son Stavros Michaelis Lagakos.
- Polidoros Stavros (Billio) Lagakos was named after his mother Panayiota Lagakos' father, as was the usual practice. 'Billio' Lagakos was born in 1925 and married Zina Kalaizidou who had been born in Russia of Greek parents.
William Stephen Lagakos as the oldest brother was selected by his family to go to the United States to find work and income for the Lagakos family.
brothers William Stephen Lagakos, Georgios Stavros (George) Lagakos and Polidoros Stavros (Billio) Lagakos in 1972
William Lagakos come first to New York City in 1935. He began working in the traditional employment for the Greek immigrant: a Greek restaurant, initially washing dishes. He later worked for his uncle, George Nicholas Arfanis at Uncle George's New York City restaurant. (George Nicholas Arfanis was in fact half brother to William Stephen Lagakos's mother Panayiota Arfanis Lagakos, by a second marriage of Nicolaos Arfanis). Uncle George's restaurant was "The Hunter" on Madison Avenue in center-city Manhattan, New York where William Stephen Lagakos worked from about 1936 to 1945. George Nicholas Arfanis was exempted from service in World War II and his restaurant and George Nicholas Arfanis's fortunes thrived during wartime rationing and restrictions. George Nicholas Arfanis married Marion Foster, born January 5, 1909. Marion Arfanis died in April 1977 and George and Marion had no children.
George Arfanis in 1944
William Stephen Lagakos married Helen Rengepes in Philadelphia in 1944. They lived in New York City initially until relocating to suburban Philadelphia (Upper Darby) in 1945.
William and Helen Lagakos wed in 1944
Helen Rengepes with her father George Pericles Rengepes and mother Anastasia ('Tasia') and brothers and sisters had lived at 4625 Woodland Avenue in West Philadelphia, until moving to Upper Darby in suburban Philadelphia. George Rengepes is listed as being a restaurant owner. George had immigrated to the US in 1899. Helen's mother Anastasia, who was called 'Tasia' by the family, having contracted tuberculosis, returned to Greece which was thought might improve her health. However, she died in Kalamata age only 30 leaving behind five children.
George Pericles Rengepes was born in Kalamata, Greece on April 24, 1881. He came to the United States, initially to Pittsburgh in about 1899. He may have served in the US Army during World War I. George Pericles Rengepes died in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania in 1949. Helen's mother Anastasia Liacouras Rengepes was born in 1897 in Harakopio, Kalamata, Greece. From Philadelphia, Anastasia Liacouras Rengepes returned to Greece in 1926 after contracting Tuberculosis. She died the following year in 1927 in Kalamata at the young age of 30.
George Pericles Rengepes and Anastasia Rengepes had five children:
- Pericles George (called 'James') Rengepes born June 18, 1913 who married Rose Halkias Rengepes (1921-2007). James and Rose Rengepes had two children, George Rengepes and Julie Rengepes. Rose had one sister, Christine Halkias who had a daughter: Georgette Demas.
- our ancestor Helen Rengepes born October 12, 1915 in Wilmington, Delaware. She married our ancestor William Stephen Lagakos.
- Angeles (Anne) Rengepes, fraternal twin to Helen, also born October 12, 1915 married William Lofuno. Anne Rengepes lived much of her life in New Jersey and died in Atlantic City, New Jersey January 3, 2005.
Anne and William Lofuno in about 1980
- Cleopatra (Claire) Rengepes born in 1916. In 1941, Claire married Dominick DePaul (born in Italy August 8, 1920 - May 5, 1986 in Philadelphia). Claire and Dominick DePaul had two children: Donald and Barbara.
- Evangelos George (Frank) Rengepes born in February 28, 1919, and later simplified his name to Frank Rennis at about the time of his service in World War II. He married Mary Bertas (1923-present) of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Frank and Mary Rennis had four children: Deborah, Denise, Jamie, and James. After service in World War II as an engineering officer, Frank Rennis pursued a successful engineering career in Philadelphia. He later owned his own engineering firm. Frank Rennis died in Villanova in suburban Philadelphia on February 18, 2001.
George Pericles Rengepes's brother, John Pericles Rengepes is listed in 1930 Census as living nearby at 4632 Woodland Ave with his wife Besse and sister Jennie. John Pericles Rengepes, like George, was born in Kalamata, Greece, and his birth date was December 21, 1887. He had three children: Jeanne, John and Vilma. George Pericles Rengepes had two brothers who stayed in Greece. One was Costa Pericles Rengepes (Gus) who was said to have been a university professor, and the other who attended university in Athens.
Both our ancestor Helen and her twin sister Anne were sent by their father to the Palm Business School at 52nd and Market Streets in Philadelphia to learn business skills. Helen worked in offices for several years, but Ann did not like this kind of work, and switched to war-time factory work.
After working in offices, Helen's uncle James Peter (Dimitrios) Liacouras, whom she always referred to a 'Uncle Jimmy', asked Helen to work at his grocery. Uncle Jimmy was the brother of Helen's mother Anastasia (Tasia) Liacouras Rengepes. The Liacouras store was first at 1030 Locust Street and later at 10th & Spruce Streets in Philadelphia. Helen worked as a cashier at the latter location for 9 1/2 years from about 1935 to 1944. In later years, after her marriage, Helen Lagakos also worked as a medical secretary.
Uncle Jimmy's store started as a meat store, and then he added other groceries and later deli items. He owned the store with his brother George Peter Liacouras who was born in Greece May 24, 1884. The store prospered in part because the students from nearby Jefferson Medical University were high volume customers. James Peter (Jimmy) Liacouras was born in Messinia, Greece on September 14, 1890, brother to Anastasia ('Tasia') Liacouras Rengepes, Helen's mother. He died in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania in March 1977 age 86. His father was Panos Liacouras of Coroni, Greece.
James Peter Liacouras's wife Stella Lagakos Liacouras was born in Tseria, Laconia, Greece October 2, 1902 and died in Philadelphia January 9, 1989. Aunt Stella Lagakos was daughter of Georgios Vasilios Lagakos (1866-1946) and Stavroula Alikakos. Aunt Stella Lagakos was first cousin of our ancestor William Stephen Lagakos, so that both William Stephen Lagakos and wife Helen Rengepes Lagakos were each separately related to the couple James Peter Liacouras ('Uncle Jimmy') and his wife Stella Lagakos Liacouras.
Jimmy and Stella Liacouras had four children:
- Helen J. Liacouras born in Philadelphia in 1924. Helen married Dr. Vasilios S Lambros in 1947, and they later moved to California in 1962. Dr. Lambros was a neurosurgeon practicing in Los Angeles County, California. He died on March 4, 2011 in Pasadena, California.
- Vilma Liacouras born in Philadelphia on August 11, 1925. She married Nicholas Chantiles who was born in Washingon, D.C. in 1929. Vilma Liacouras Chantiles wrote a number of widely successful books on cooking and in particular on Greek cuisine.
- Alyce (Aliki) Liacouras born in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey on September 3, 1929. She married Swiss-born Franz Brandenberg in 1957. After studies at the Philadelphia Museum School of Art where she graduated in 1951, she went on to build a career as an artist and illustrator. She has illustrated for others including Franz Brandenberg, and extensively for her own books of which she has written several hundred with great success.
- Peter James Liacouras born in Philadelphia on April 9, 1931. Peter married Ann Locke Myers, born February 1, 1937 who studied law at Temple University. Peter James Liacouras pursued distinguished study of law, followed by appointment to the School of Law at Temple University, Philadelphia where he became Dean. Then, in July 1982, Peter Liacouras was appointed the seventh President of Temple University serving with dynamic leadership until 2000.
William Stephen Lagakos and Helen Rengepes Lagakos had three children:
- Patricia Lagakos born in Bronx, New York May 7, 1945.
- Stephen Lagakos born in Philadelphia on June 18, 1946. Stephen married Regina Eckenrode in Philadelpha on 17 August 1968 following his graduation from Carnegie-Mellon University.
- Susan Barbara Lagakos born August 11, 1952 in Philadelphia.
William Lagakos died in Monroe County in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania on March 7, 1985. Helen Lagakos died in a tragic automobile accident in New Hampshire on her 94th birthday on October 12, 2009.
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