Christos “Chris” “Christie” Karagiannes

AUGUSTA – Christos “Chris” “Christie” Karagiannes, 95, of Augusta, died peacefully Tuesday, July 9, 2019. Christos was born in Manchester, N.H. on June 26, 1924, the son of Michael and Paraskeve (Nasikas) Karagiannes. Chris’s parents, who had been living and working in Manchester for many years, decided to return to Grevena in northern Greece when Chris was six months. Chris and his twin brother, John, brother, Charlie and sister, Vasiliki worked on the family farm. He often said the hardest job he ever had was picking tobacco leaves. He departed well before dawn and often fell asleep on the way to the fields while riding on the back of a donkey. World War II brought the Italian/Nazi invasion to Greece. Christos and his brother became part of the Greek guerilla underground planting bombs, interrupting the flow of troops and supplies to the front whenever possible. Following WWII, Uncle Sam “invited” Chris and his brothers to join the U.S. Army, as they were U.S. citizens, and they accepted passage to America. Upon their arrival in the United States, the Army classified them as 4-F because the brothers knew no English. Chris was proud to say he and his brothers paid the government back every cent of the cost of the tickets. Chris and his brothers intended destination was Manchester, N.H., their birthplace. However, an aunt living in Augusta learned of their pending arrival and sent her oldest son to bring them to Maine. Chris primarily worked in the restaurant business, Pine Tree Lunch, The Blaine Restaurant and then McClellan’s. In 1949, Christos decided to settle down and married Aliki “Alice” Siola, a girl who lived two doors from his parent’s house in Grevena, Greece. They were married for 65 years. Chris and Alice worked at McClellan’s for several years where his hard work and menu changes increased profit so much that it caught the attention of a senior store manager in New York. Chris was offered a good job and great pay but Chris and Alice decided Augusta was a better place to raise children. In 1953 Chris took advantage of an opportunity to buy a little restaurant on Riverside Drive, the Riverside Restaurant which he and Aliki operated until their retirement in 1988. The original name was slightly altered when the telephone company informed him that people were asking where Christie’s Restaurant was located. The name was changed to Christie’s Riverside Restaurant but usually just called Christie’s. Christos and Aliki worked the restaurant long hours, seven days a week, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Their success was not only due to hard work, but also the delicious homemade Greek and American food at family friendly prices; the most important ingredients for success at the restaurant were the friendly, outgoing personalities and generosity. Christie’s motto, “Where you are not just a customer, but a friend” was also the way Chris lived his life.Most children would remember Chris telling them if they ate their dinner they could pick out something from the famous candy counter. One employee who worked at Christie’s made several observations, work hard, do it right the first time because you’d just have to do it again, eat quickly because it could get busy really fast and plan to go on a diet because you’ll gain 10 pounds the first month of work. Chris felt his workers should never have to pay for a meal at the restaurant. He did not like to see anyone walk out the door hungry. Upon his retirement Christos enjoyed travelling to Greece, gardening, and especially spending time with his grandchildren. He had a heart of gold and was willing to help anyone in need. Chris was predeceased by his wife of 65 years, Aliki; his twin brother, John and wife, Kalliope, brother Charles and wife, Roketi and former wife, Theresa, sister, Vasiliki and her husband, Vasilis.He is survived by his daughter, Theodora C. Karagiannis and her husband, Dr. Emil Karagiannis of Manchester, N.H., his son, Michael A. Karagiannes and his wife, Heather, of Augusta; grandchildren, Aliki of Quincy, Mass., Olga Karagiannis of Boston, Mass., and Kristina (Karagiannis) and husband, Michael Ehrenberg of New York City, Alexander, Christos and Nicholas Karagiannes; along with many nieces and nephews here and in Greece. Relatives and friends may visit from 2 to 4 p.m. or 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 19, at Knowlton and Hewins Funeral Home, 1 Church St., Augusta, with a service at 7 p.m. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 20 at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Lewiston. Burial will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery.In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church P.O. Box 1344 Lewiston, ME 04240 Capital Area Recreation Association (CARA) P.O. Box 5275 Augusta, ME 04330 or a charity of your choice

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