Petros William Panagakos

PORTLAND – On Dec. 14, 2020, Petros William Panagakos, former educator and coach, died peacefully in his sleep after a brief illness. Born in 1928, he was the son of William and Vasos Panagakos of Portland.He attended local schools and was a 1952 graduate of the University of Maine. He was later awarded grants for advanced graduate studies at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, the University of Massachusetts, and the Taft Institute of Public Service. A veteran of World War II, Panagakos trained as a tank crewman, and served with the Army of Occupation in southern Japan. Mr. Panagakos taught in several Maine high schools. While an instructor and basketball coach at Southern Maine Community College, he established the Maine Small College Basketball Conference, and was elected its first president. In 1955, Panagakos accepted a position with American Air Force Schools where he taught the sons and daughters of military personnel in France and Germany. While serving in France, he married the former Phyllis Merrill in the Greek Orthodox Church in Paris. He was later appointed school principal at the American Naval Base on the Greek island of Crete. He also taught Modern Greek to military personnel stationed on the island. In 1974, Panagakos was awarded a Fulbright Grant and moved, along with his family, to Oakham, Rutland England, where he taught at a private English Academy. After retiring from education, Panagakos became active in politics, and was the Democratic candidate for the Maine Senate in 1988. Mr. Panagakos was an avid skier and cyclist. He particularly enjoyed family gatherings at their summer home in Old Orchard Beach.Mr. Panagakos was named after an older brother who died before he was born. He was also predeceased by his four brothers, Christopher, Nicholas, Charles, and Peter, and by a sister, Rita and her husband John Doukas. His beloved wife Phyllis died in April of 2012. Petros leaves three daughters, Vasilia Panagakos and her longtime partner Chris Cox, Martha and her husband David Parker, Amy and her husband Ed Libby, and a son. William Peter; along with four grandchildren, Leah, David, Emily and Benjamin. He also leaves behind four nephews, Andrew and William Doukas, Darren and Peter Rodney Panagakos, and two nieces, Tiffany and Vanessa and countless nieces and nephews through marriage. Mr. Panagakos was a member of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, and previously served as vice president of the church council. Although the family will be holding a private memorial service, a celebration of Petros’s life will take place at a later date.

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