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22 November 2001

Jerry Markantonis, 1925-2001


Jerry Markantonis at the West Alabama Ice House

Gerasimos (Jerry) Markantonis passed away on November 21, 2001 in Houston.

The youngest of nine, Markantonis was born in Feredinata on the Greek Island of Kefalonia on May 21, 1925. With the help of his brothers, he moved to America in 1948, adopting the name Jerry and becoming a proud citizen. He served his new country during the Korean War as an Army sergeant. Afterwards, he obtained a degree in geology at the University of Houston, where he met his wife, Kulla.

After working several years in the oil industry, he embarked on an entrepreneurial career that saw him own several Houston service stations, restaurants, and clubs, including the Mayflower, Golden Stein, and Swank Lounge. His legacy remains the West Alabama Ice House, a Houston landmark that became known as �Houston�s backyard� under his ownership and was even featured in the New York Times. His tradition of free hotdogs, which he meticulously prepared every Friday night, touched generations of customers whom he always treated as friends and family.

He is survived by his wife Kulla, his children Frank, Virginia, Callie, and Peter, his grandchildren Tasia, Eleni, Lia, Maki, Eli, his sister Toula, sisters-in-law Deola and Virginia, and extended family in America and in Greece. His brothers Pete and Louis preceded him in death earlier in the year.

Visitation will be held at 6:30 PM and trisagion at 7PM on November 23 at the Chapel of Forest Park Westheimer, 12800 Westheimer (at Dairy Ashford), 281-497-2330. The funeral will be held at 11 AM November 24 at Saint Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church, 1100 Eldridge Parkway, 281-679-5395. Graveside services will immediately follow at Forest Park Westheimer. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Saint Basil the Great building fund.

[Posted @ 12:13 AM CST]


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