Friday, 31 October 2008

Loving thoughts of Lonia Efthyvoulou - RIP 30th October 2008

We are all saddened to hear of the death of my uncle Lonias Efthyvoulou on 30th October 2008, aged 84 after a year's fight against cancer.

Condolances go out via this posting to his wife Hara, who had nursed him and had supported him through his final days - and of course to his sons Michael and Stephen and their mother Alma, and to his brothers Dimas and Shurick and his sisters Tania and Tina. 

Lonia had been diagnosed in February 2008 as suffering from a malignant cancer of the lungs which the radiation treatment he subsequently received had been able to hold-back, but not eliminate. He had spent a last period in hospital during September, during which doctors determined there was nothing further they could do to help him, and so he was transferred to his home, where Hara was his only support and carer.

His sister Tania with her daughter Zoe and with Tashi had travelled from the US to spend some time in Cyprus with him during March, with some lovely photographs posted on the web from that visit. (see link below).

Lonia's sister Tina had also travelled from her own family base in Athens to spend some time with Lonia, Hara and the Efty family in Cyprus, during March and again later in the year.

Lonia's two sons Michael with wife Lee and Stephen with wife Maureen had been able to travel from their homes in the US to visit Cyprus during this last summer and to spend time with their father. 

Lonias had last visited the US for the wedding of Stephen and Maureen's daughter Nicole in New Jersey during the summer of 2003, and had also been able to visit with his elder son Michael and wife Lee with their family in Florida for a few days.

In addition to the suffering during this last year due to his illness, Lonias and his wife Hara had some very difficult emotions to cope with following the tragic death of Louisa Vouteri Efthyvoulou who had been a stewardess aboard the Helios jet crash in Greece during 2005. She had been cruelly taken from them a matter of days before she was due to be married, which saw them all attending a funeral instead of a joyous wedding.

Both my father Dimas and Lonia are World War 2 veterans of the Cyprus Regiment and have always been respected members of the community in Cyprus. Their father Mihalakis had been a veteran volunteer with the British army during World War I before then also serving with the British Army during the Second World War.

In his later years in Cyprus Lonias contributed articles as a journalist for the Cyprus Weekly newspaper, which his brother Alex Efty had helped found as an activity over and above his own lifetime's work as a correspondent for the Associated Press. Lonia had provided regular reports on proceedings in the Cyprus Parliament, and contributed frequent 'feature' articles on a wide range of subjects over many years.

Lonia had served as a journalist with the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, and had worked with the Foreign Broadcast Information Service during the 50s and 60s and again during the later 70's and 80's.

Above all however, we remember Lonias as I am sure he would wish to be remembered -- for his very friendly and witty character, his enjoyment of good food and the occasional drink and of course for his prolific output as an artist painter. He chose to immortalise real locations such as village scenes and houses in his own unique style. He would also often repeat his theme of olive trees and of nature studies in sketch form as well as in his own impressionist painting style.

Lonias also leaves behind a vast archive of photographs.

He had very much wanted to have a last exhibition of paintings during this last year, but his failing health and mobility made that impossible. It would be a fitting tribute to him for that to happen at some point in the near future.

His funeral is at 11am on Saturday 1st November in Nicosia.

See also:

"Rest in Peace Lonia Efthyvoulou", by Zoe Krylova (30th October 2008)

"My Three Uncles" - Photo Album of Zoe Krylova's trip to Cyprus in March 2008Efty Family Gathering - Tatiana Cyprus Visit 2007, by Tatiana BendaLonia Efthyvoulou Gallery at the Aspects website, by David Efthyvoulou, 2003

"Fragments: Kyrenia Views - From our lives there in the 1950s"
Photos contributed by Alma Efthyvoulou, photos taken by Lonia Efthyvoulou

"Unsettling visit to Karmi" (in the part of northern Cyprus still occupied by Turkey's army)
By Lonias Efthyvoulou, Cyprus Weekly, May 9-16, 2003

History of Cyprus / Cleanthis P. Georgiades ; translation from the Greek, Lonias Efthyvoulou ; [colour photographs by Jack Iacovides].

"History shadows ancient Nicosia villages", A brief history of Pera Orinis Village, by Lonia Efthyvoulou

Pera Orinis - by Lonia Efthyvoulou, 2002

Some video/music, for Lonia, and for us ...

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