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February 25, 1927 ~ May 27, 2023 (age 96) 96 Years Old
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PHOENICIA – Christoforos “Chris” Raptis of Phoenicia, NY, died peacefully Saturday, May
27, 2023, in his home in Phoenicia, NY at the age of 96. Chris was born in Dolon, Epirus
region, Greece on 2/25/1927 to parents George and Panayiota Raptis and he was the youngest
of seven children. He did not have much formal schooling, but he had a thirst for knowledge
and continued to educate himself throughout his entire life, attending classes at a nearby
college on plate tectonics and geology and watching educational videos on his computer until
the day he died. He was a trained plumber in Greece but had many different occupations
throughout his life. The region of Greece in which Chris grew up experienced difficult times
and he lived through German occupation during WWII followed by the Communist Civil
War. The poverty these wars brought with them pushed him to come to the United States in
1956 in pursuit of the American Dream. In Greece he had married Marianthi Zervas at a
young age and brought her to the US two years after his arrival. They later divorced but
remained amicable. When Chris first arrived in the US he did not know a word of English but
got a job as a busboy at the Park Lane Hotel in Manhattan, New York, the city where he lived
upon arrival. He thereafter became a furrier and after moving to Queens, NY, went into the
home contracting business for himself. Subsequently, he and two others purchased the
Continental Gourmet catering corporation, which he ran successfully. He also helped found
the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Whitestone, NY, and was president of that
community for four years. Chris was an avid fisherman and hunter. While hunting in upstate
New York, he came upon the Phoenicia Diner and decided to buy it and start a new phase of
his life in Phoenicia. He was joined by his beloved Chrystalla Orthodoxou, who predeceased
him in 2020, and together they operated the diner for nearly 30 years. The diner was a place
where locals gathered on a daily basis and many dear and lasting friendships were made,
which became the “Diner Family”. After selling the diner, Chris and Chrystal remained in
Phoenicia and he kept busy maintaining a large vegetable garden and pursuing his hobby in
photography. He spent countless hours creating an extensive photo journal of his hometown
in Greece, Dolon, which is part of the National Library in Athens, Greece today. Chris was
firm in his beliefs and even drove himself to the polling booth so he could vote in the last
election. He had one daughter, Peggy, of whom he was very proud. He lived with Peggy and
her family in New Jersey during the last few months of his life and even got to welcome
home his first great grandchild on 4/5/23. Chris insisted that he wanted to go to his house for
a few days and was back in Phoenicia on 5/25/23. He was extremely happy to be in his home
where he passed peacefully. He is survived by his daughter, Peggy Raptis Baurkot, and her
husband, Daniel Baurkot, grandchildren, Sophia Coutu and husband Kurt Coutu, Elena,
Juliana and Christopher Baurkot and a great granddaughter, Elliana. He is also survived by
his stepson, Peter Orthodoxou. Donations can be made to Chris’ Church in Dolon, Greece by
sending checks to E.B. Gormley Funeral Home, 87 Main Street, P.O. Box 97, Phoenicia, NY
12464, made out to Peggy Baurkot with Dolon Church in the memo line. Memorial
arrangements to be announced. You may share a special memory, photo, or condolence with the family on Chris' Tribute Wall at www.gormleyfuneralhome.com Memorial arrangements are under the direction of the E. B. Gormley Funeral Home 87 Main St. Phoenicia..