Eugenia Lebares, a lifelong member of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church of Portland who helped organize its popular Greek Festival for many years, died on Feb. 24. She was 87.

Ms. Lebares was a dedicated member of Holy Trinity Church. She was involved in its women’s organization, Daughters of Penelope, for more than 50 years. She was active in numerous other church groups, including the parish council and the Philoptochos Society.

Ms. Lebares was a fixture at the annual Greek Festival. She served as chairwoman of the first festival, held around 1976, and helped organize it for many years. For the past couple of years, she had recruited cashiers and worked the phones from her room at the Barron Center in Portland.

“She was a very hard-working person and very caring,” said Luci Nanos, a friend, who also volunteers for the festival. “She was a very meticulous person. She wanted everything to be just so. She followed through on everything she started. She left nothing hanging in the balance.”

Ms. Lebares spent her life pursuing that level of dedication to her work. She was a buyer and manager at the former Rines Bros. Department Store on Congress Street in Portland. Her nephew Peter Lebares, of San Francisco, said she worked in the women’s department and would often go to New York to check out the latest fashions. The store closed its doors in the mid-1970s.

“She was a fixture there,” he said. “When I was a kid, she loved to take us shopping. We had two aunts that spoiled us rotten. We would go to the Maine Mall. We couldn’t go anywhere without her stopping 10 times. She knew everyone.”

Ms. Lebares took another position as a buyer and manager at the Uniform Shop, formerly located in Portland. She worked there for more than 30 years and retired in 2008 to work part time at the church.

“It’s totally amazing. She was a work horse,” her nephew said. “She loved being productive. She never stopped. When she wasn’t working, she was volunteering.”

Ms. Lebares, of Portland, volunteered at the Wayside Soup Kitchen for many years. She was never married and didn’t have children. Her nephew said she was very close with her sister, Pauline Lebares, who died in 1998.

“We called them the aunts,” he recalled. “We were the three boys. They would spoil us rotten on Christmas. When they came over, it was a big deal. She was the coolest.”

In recent years, Ms. Lebares lived at the Barron Center in Portland. Her nephew said she enjoyed reading and working on crossword puzzles. He said they talked on the phone every week for the past 30 years or so.

“She was super loyal and really generous and giving,” he said. “She loved with no strings.”

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

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