Frances Christacakos was the first of four children, born to immigrant parents on the industrial East Side of Chicago Dec. 2, 1921. She was influenced by her proud Greek heritage and the richness of many cultures surrounding her. Silhouettes of grain elevators and flaming factory smokestacks stood like guards over the landscape of her neighborhood. Steel mills brought workers and their families from all corners of the earth to form vibrant neighborhoods drawn together by a strong sense of community, ethnicity and a physical presence that signified
industrial might. Her father, George, was from Sparta and her mother, Angeline, from the mountainous village of Tripoli - both in the Southern Peloponnese region of Greece. Frances’ children are sure that her Spartan heritage helped give her strength and perseverance. Her mother, Angeline, modeled the loving, vibrant, indomitable spirit our mom embraced. Frances attended Gallistel Elementary and St. Francis de Sales High School. She and her family attended the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in the neighboring town of Hegewisch. She helped her hard-working parents in their family soda fountain business, Harmony Sweets, on 106th and Ewing Ave. Ice cream shakes, hand-rolled chocolates and hot fudge sundaes were her favorites. The store prospered and became a popular gathering place for locals. The family went on to open Harmony Hamburgers a few doors down. Hamburgers were made the oldfashioned way, on a grill with mountains of sizzling onions. Frances worked for a brief period at Walgreen’s Drug Store on State and Randolph Streets in downtown Chicago. The tallest skyscraper at the time was the Prudential Building. At the beginning of WWII, following her brother Bill’s induction into the Army, Frances enlisted in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp and received basic training at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. She was stationed at the Strategic Army/Air Force base in Langley Field, Va., as Private First Class and was involved in the plans and training for the Secret Service. She also typed navigator logs and did clerical work. A C-47 troop carrier transported Frances and other soldiers to New York City on a furlough. She had the privilege of flying in a B-24 Liberator Bomber. She married Staff Sergeant, Earl Williams, on base. He was trained in the secret advancement of radar to detect enemy aircraft. Frances had
great pride in her service to her country. After discharge from the service, they moved to Ohio and eventually came back to the East Side of Chicago. Frances devoted her life raising her four children, Patricia, Angelyn (George), Anita (Gary) and Greg (Gayle). She was incredibly proud of her children and loved each one with passion. The family relocated to Champaign, Urbana and then to idyllic, Wheaton, Ill., for seven years. In 1962, the family packed up and moved across the country to Beaverton, Ore., for her husband to advance his career at Tektronix. Frances did clerical work at Tektronix and worked in food service through the Beaverton School District. She grew to treasure the lush beauty of Oregon. Frances loved Theos (God), St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church and Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Her friendships at church and great kindnesses filled her heart. The children flocked to her as she opened her arms with abundant love and enthusiasm for their very existence. She was curious about the natural world around her and could talk to anyone at anytime. Frances lived to the fullest, danced at weddings, cried at christenings and enjoyed people and great food. Her energy and zeal for life influenced everyone around her. She was a wonderful Yiayia to Robert Patzke (Kristine) and Chad Patzke (Treena); Paul Voss (Ellen), Jennifer Anderson (Tim) and Hannah Voss(Scott); and Aaron Hartling (Paige) and Meriel Hartling (Mark). Her enthusiasm and love extended to her great-grandchildren, Breena, Sareena, Megan, Kate, Landon, Lucas, Abby, Benjamin and Cora; great-great-grandchildren, Luke and Ella. “How high is the sky, how deep is the ocean? That’s how much I love you!” That was our Mom’s message to all of us. Frances has left a rich legacy and will be missed, but we know she has joined her loved ones in paradise. She passed away peacefully into the arms of Jesus. A Funeral will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 3131 N.E. Glisan St., Portland, OR. A public viewing will be held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, 14485 S.W. Walker Rd., Beaverton, OR. Donations may be made to St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church and the Veterans of America.
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