Maria Vlahos fell asleep in the Lord on the 4th of December 2020 at the age of 86 from COVID-19. Maria was the seventh of eight children born May 21, 1934 to Nikolaos and Athanasia Geranios in Dafni, Kalavryta, Achaea, Greece in the Peloponnese region.
Maria was raised on a farm with her parents and seven siblings living the simple yet wholesome life. During WWII, nine-year-old Maria witnessed the German invasion and massacre of her village and would describe her family's harrowing survival as somewhat of a miracle. The family was forced to flee their besieged village and hide in the hills and caverns. The family endured the perils of war and starvation by eating grass for six months. Maria and her family were lucky to survive the Axis Occupation of Greece and subsequent civil war. This, as many psychiatrists that have treated her believe, was the beginning of her battle with mental illness.
In the 1960's, she came to America to visit family in Charleston, South Carolina, where she met Spero Vlahos, whom she married and had two children, Cynthia and Christos. Together they thrived owning apartments, The Reef Club, and were active members of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity. Unfortunately, their joyous life together was cut short as her beloved husband died in 1972. Sadly, Maria was left alone in a foreign country to raise her two young children where she could not speak, read, or write the language; this tragedy sparked a major bout of depression. After much deliberation about moving back to Greece or staying in the United States, she was fetched by her family out west and settled down in Great Falls, Montana. Great Falls was where her four older brothers and their families resided and soon became her community. Maria became an American citizen shortly after arriving in Montana. She was proud of her citizenship as well as her Greek heritage. Mom had a big heart and was interested in helping people.
Mom was very resourceful recycling aluminum foil and misshapen Christmas bows, using expired dog food coupons in order to buy cat food, and digging up dandelions from the backyard - boiling them to make horta vrasta, a dish that she would prepare with hard boiled eggs, salt, lemon juice, and olive oil. Olive oil was a versatile ingredient in the household as she would cook with it, use it as a beauty product, and also as an antidote for earaches warmed up on a cotton ball and inserted into her children's ears. Maria was also a pro at aiming and throwing the pandofla (slipper) or brass ashtray to create order in the house. Her two children learned the safe place in the house when misbehaving would be right in front of the china closet, as she dared only once to throw something their way for fear of breaking her wedding china and keepsakes. Maria enjoyed listening to her Greek records, playing board games, going for walks, looking at fashion magazines, and reading the National Enquirer - which she believed every story as truth.
To read the complete obituary and share condolences, visit the Croxford Funeral Home website.