Brattleboro - Dr. Eugenia Petrou-Karabakakis passed away peacefully while her favorite hymns played in the background, on July 18th, 2018 in Brattleboro, Vermont at the age of 95, surrounded by two generations of her family.
Eugenia was born to Christos and Chrisoula Petrou in Drama, Greece on March 2nd 1923 and was raised in a deeply religious family tied to the Greek Orthodox faith. Eugenia’s father who was a merchant marine and traveled from Greece to America to support his family later moved his family to Halkida, Evia, Greece where she completed her high school education. Her family faced difficult times in WW-ll during a time of uncertainty, turmoil and poverty and she lost her father and their home at the young age of 19. Eugenia was the oldest of her siblings, she was fluent in Greek, English and French and taught French during the war to help her family survive. During that time and her family moved to Thessaloniki, Greece and after the war continued her education and completed her medical degree at the University of Thessaloniki in 1954. She married Dr. Nikita Karabakakis in 1954 and together they immigrated to pursue their dreams in America.
Like many others from her era, and from an early age, her dream was to move to America in search of a new life and opportunity. Her passion and vision was to help those in need and to serve as a physician, she achieved those dreams and so much more.
America, the land of opportunity opened many new doors for Eugenia. She completed her medical residency at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, NY and further specialized in Psychiatry at Spring Grove State Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. She then worked as Chief Staff Psychiatrist at the Brooklyn Veteran’s Administration for 24 years. She was tremendously proud of her service to the VA, and was respected by her colleagues, patients and all with whom she came in contact with. She also helped many families who needed her medical assistance and would not accept money for her medical services. She proudly served in the US Army Reserves, as the first Greek born American women to achieve the rank of Colonel. She held many leadership positions during her service: her dedication and contributions to this country were formally recognized by Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr.
She tirelessly devoted her time teaching Sunday school and leading Bible studies to the Greek Orthodox Churches in Astoria, Corona, Whitestone and Flushing, New York. She lived her life guided by the Orthodox beliefs and values which were demonstrated in her unwavering commitment and consideration to God, country and family. Eugenia was a proud citizen of America, she served her adopted country with passion, was skilled and respected in her profession, she treated her patients with love and compassion. She enjoyed having coffee, Greek food at Stamatis Restaurant in Astoria, NY and sharing stories with her family and friends. She traveled frequently and took many trips back to her homeland of Greece with her family and friends. She especially liked to visit the Panagia Pantanassa Monastery in Crete, which she considered her spiritual family.
After living for 62 years in her home in Flushing, New York she moved close to her son George Karabakakis and his family in Keene, New Hampshire where she continued to regularly attend services at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church.
In the last years of her life she developed a close connection with her caretakers who provided her with excellent care and met not only her physical but her spiritual needs at Thompson House in Brattleboro, Vermont. Dr. Eugenia Petrou-Karabakakis was preceded in death by her husband Dr. Nikita Karabakakis, and her brother Petros Petrou who resided in Greece. She leaves behind her sister Vasso Patrikis who is 83 years old, her niece’s Chrissy and Maria, nephews, and niece’s in Greece, grand nieces and nephews.
She is survived by her son George Karabakakis, her daughter in law Sigrid Scholz-Karabakakis, their children, Jason, Alexander and Habame in Keene, New Hampshire and her daughter Chrissy Karabakakis in New York.
Dr. Eugenia Petrou-Karabakakis who came to America with a dream, made her dreams come true and helped others achieve theirs. She served her patients and her country with respect, dignity, honor and love. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends and those whose lives she touched.
Funeral services will be held, 9 a.m. Saturday August 11th at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at 196-10 Northern Blvd in Flushing, NY.