Joanna “Ann” Thanos
June 23, 1925-July 31, 2016
Joanna “Ann” Thanos Lavrakas, 91, died on Sunday, July 31, 2016, in Homer, Alaska. Her son Jim was at her side.
Ann was born in Gloucester, Mass., on June 23, 1925, to Greek immigrants James “Jimmy” and Maria Thanos.
She is survived by her sons Jim Lavrakas and his wife Ruth of Homer, Alaska; Robert Lavrakas and his wife Melanie of Roswell, New Mexico; Faye Lavrakas of Carmel Valley, Calif.; and Dimitra Lavrakas, recently of Gloucester, Mass; grandsons, Alexios Rosario-Moore and his wife Editha of Joliet, Ill.; Gabe and Nick Lavrakas of Anchorage, Alaska; and Alissa and Ben Wilkinson and son, Jacob, of Burlingame, Calif.
She grew up in Gloucester in the house her father built and summered in a cottage he built on Long Beach. Her father co-owned The Busy Bee Restaurant in downtown Gloucester where she helped him when she was a young girl.
She attended Gloucester High School, graduating in 1942, and from Endicott College in 1944 with an associate degree in hematology.
On Feb. 3, 1946, she married Vasilis “Babe” Lavrakas and moved to Lowell, Mass., then moving to Dunstable, Mass., and in retirement to Kerrville, Texas, but spending summers fishing from their cabin, The Cottage, in Little Tutka Bay across from Homer.
In later years, she was a lab tech at Lowell General Hospital, but she should have been a doctor. Her calm response to cuts, bruises and gashes was sure and steady as her children dragged themselves home for first aid.
An excellent knitter, she could look at an Erin Isle sweater and reproduce it without a pattern. When her children were little, she made their clothes.
She could wallpaper, paint, stain furniture and designed lovely Tole work tables and trays, but once advised her children not to learn how to do too much or you’d end up doing everything.
She was at times whimsical, especially after a few glasses of wine, like the time she broke into an impromptu Greek dance high in the Swiss Alps during a road trip.
Tragically, in 2009, Ann lost her sight to temporal arteritis, a rare autoimmune disease. She spent the last three-and-a-half years at the Main Street Assisting Living home in Homer where each and every one of her caregivers loved her, and she them.
Ann, like her husband, will be cremated and have a memorial service on the water off MacDonald Spit where her ashes will be released to the sea into their favorite halibut fishing hole. A potluck dinner will follow at The Cottage. Details to follow.