Peter George Valentzas, 89, of Oak Bluffs and formerly of Worcester, died on Saturday, Nov. 24, at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital after a brief illness, with his loving family by his side.
He leaves his beloved wife of 67 years, Helen P. (Gusha) Valentzas; a daughter, Kathryn P. Collins of Oak Bluffs; a son, George P. Valentzas, and his wife, Linda, of Worcester; and a granddaughter Eleni (Collins) Roriz and her husband, John, of Oak Bluffs, with whom he had a special bond, because she was born on his birthday in 1984. He also leaves several nephews and nieces. Two brothers, Harry and Louis Valentzas, and a sister, Hresula Petropoulos, predeceased him.
Peter was born in Pueblo, Colo. on July 27, 1923, son of George and Constantina (Bessis) Valentzas. He moved to New York City in 1926 and lived there until 1938, when his family moved to Worcester.
Upon transferring to Commerce High School in Worcester, Peter was seriously injured while trying out for the football team, and was laid up in a hospital from 1939 to 1941. In 1941, he began studying at Wentworth Institution, but the school was taken over by the Navy soon after.
Between the early 1940s to the late 1960s, Peter worked a variety of jobs in restaurants and hotels. In 1967, he became partner in one of these restaurants with his brother Louis and brother-in-law Chris, The Eden Garden Restaurant, in Worcester, where he served many, including celebrities, politicians, and much of the staff of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. He had many, many stories about The Eden. He also co-owned Circe’s Restaurant with his nephew John.
In 1986, Peter retired from the restaurant business and moved to Martha’s Vineyard with Helen. Among his many new hobbies was working in the yard. Many would drive by and comment on his beautiful lawn and garden. He was also quite the handy man, and built two beloved outbuildings, The Little House and The Shed. While his wife did most of the cooking, he made great Shish Kabob, rice pudding, and grapenut custard.
He spent much of his time, while not working part-time at the post office, with his granddaughter, who knew him as Papou. He was at almost every one of her sports games, from middle school to high school and even slow-pitch softball, and was awarded Scorekeeper of the Year at the end of multiple seasons. Among many other things, he taught her how to play just about every card game, and chess.
He also had a cat, Alex, who wandered to his house next door from his granddaughter’s when she went off to college. He took great care of Alex and loved her very much.
Most recently, he loved to tell stories and reminisce with his relatives and friends, especially his nephew Paul Thoustis. Even longer ago, you could have found him down the street on his brother Louis’s porch, talking about the good old days. Sometimes he’d even drive his ride-on-lawnmower to get there.
He was a longtime member of St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral, AHEPA, and he was a Mason. He also belonged to the Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs.
The funeral will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 27, from Callahan & Fay Brothers Funeral Home, located at 61 Myrtle St. in Worcester, with a Service at 11 am at St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral, located at 102 Russell St. in Worcester. Burial will follow in Hope Cemetery. A visiting hour will also be held on Tuesday from 9:30 to 10:30 am in the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 102 Russell St., Worcester, MA 01609 or to the Vineyard Nursing Association, 29 Breakdown Lane, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.
For directions and online condolence book, please visit callahanfay.com.