OLD ORCHARD BEACH – Residents will gather Wednesday at Old Orchard Beach Funeral Home to mourn and celebrate the life of Paul Ladakakos Sr., a former town councilor who served on the town’s charter commission and numerous other committees.

He died Friday after a long and courageous fight against cancer. He was 73.

Mr. Ladakakos was remembered by town officials this week as a dedicated public servant who had a deep love for his family and the community. He served three terms on the Old Orchard Beach Town Council from 1983 to 1991 and was chairman in 1986 and 1989. He then served a two-year stint on the town’s zoning board of appeals. In 2009, he was elected to the charter commission.

“We’re probably not going to find someone more dedicated to the community than Paul was,” said Kim McLaughlin, the town clerk. “He really put his best foot forward and always tried to do what was in the best interest of the community.”

Mr. Ladakakos, known by many people as “Chubby,” also served as chairman of the Old Orchard Beach Community Garden Committee.

“He has served this community greatly with a passion unmatched,” V. Louise Reid, assistant town manager, wrote in an email. “He was always smiling and positive and a delight to know. Our heartfelt love and support go out to his family.”

He was a loving husband to Karol Ladakakos for 42 years. The couple lived in Old Orchard Beach and raised two children. He had three children from his first marriage.

Mr. Ladakakos worked hard to provide a good life for his family. He was an explosives technician and superintendent for Modern Continental, a construction company based in Cambridge, Mass. He worked there for 35 years on projects throughout New England, including the Boston “Big Dig” Central Artery/Tunnel Project. His daughter, Nikki Crowell, said he was a dedicated employee who commuted to work every day.

“He loved his work. He loved construction,” his daughter said. “He worked with dynamite. I think he really liked that part, too. I mean, how many people get to blow things up legally?”

At home, Mr. Ladakakos was engaged in his children’s lives. His wife, Karol Ladakakos, said they had a wonderful life. She recalled the day they got married. It was a chilly and clear day in October at sunrise at the Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge, N.H.

“The sun was rising as we said our vows,” she said. “It was a wonderful life. He was Greek and loud. When he whispered sweet nothings to me, they would hear him downtown. I spent my life saying, ‘Shush.’ … He came home every night no matter what. It was important for him to be with his family.”

His son, Paul Ladakakos II, of Old Orchard Beach, said his father made many sacrifices for his family. He said he instilled a strong work ethic in him.

“He burned in my head what it took to raise a family,” his son said. “He was (an) extremely loyal employee. He made himself available at all times so he could provide for us. He did whatever it took.”

Mr. Ladakakos Sr. enjoyed boating, fishing and gardening. Crowell said he was an avid gardener, who could grow anything anywhere.

“He has two peach trees at his house that are ripe and ready for the picking. Everyone that comes over is enjoying his peaches,” his daughter said.

Mr. Ladakakos was diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer about four years ago. The cancer had spread to his bones. Last week, his body began to shut down. He died Friday after suffering a heart attack in his sleep.

“I’m grateful it happened this way,” his wife said. “He was spared an enormous amount of pain that he would have had to endure. I can’t believe it. It’s a shock.”

 

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

mcreamer@pressherald.com