It takes a village to raise a child and it is far more comforting to lay a parent to rest with a village behind you.
It is time to put down in writing the story of Soultana Zioze Mokas, our much-loved YiaYia. Hopefully it will be spoken forever. Soultana Zioze Mokas was born May 10, 1926 in the small village of Fourka, Epirus, Greece near the Albanian border. She passed away in the home built by her husband, surrounded by family, on Friday, April 22, 2022, which was Holy Friday in the Greek Orthodox religion. She was the oldest of four children, raised in the small village by her parents Constantinos and Haidou Zioze. Living and being educated during the depression was not easy, but she did finish sixth grade and enjoyed reading then and throughout her life.
During World War II, her father was captured by the enemy, sent back to the village and died shortly after in 1943. Her husband-to-be, George Mokas, was an advance scout for the Greek Army during World War II. After helping to defeat the Nazis, he returned to Fourka in 1946 and married Soultana. Unfortunately, stability was not in Greece's future and a civil war broke out in 1947. George fought for the Greek Army but was captured by the communists and was sent to Tashkent, Uzbekistan as a prisoner of war where he remained for the next ten years. Soultana didn't hear from him for the first year and a half. In the meantime, her mother and siblings came to the United States for a better life. George made his way back to Fourka in 1958, they had a son in 1959 and came to the United States in December 1960. Another son was born in April 1961. George worked in the mills and as a carpenter in Manchester, New Hampshire until his death in 1988 and Soultana worked in the sweater factories, predominantly Pandora Industries until about the same time.
She was a devoted Orthodox Christian and a parishioner of St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral where she was active with the Anagenesis Society and the Annual Glendi. She was a lifetime member of the Daughters of Fourka, where she also served on the Board of Directors. In 2012 she was honored by the Metropolis of Boston and given the Ministry Award for her dedicated years of service to the Cathedral.
Her greatest joy was her extended family. There wasn't a basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, hockey, dance, play, piano recital, Greek School performance, high school graduation or college graduation that she did not attend. She was her grandchildren's biggest fan in all things. Impressively, after her husband passed away, she got her license at the age of 63 and continued driving for the next 28 years. There was never a time when you visited and didn't get offered delicious, home-made food. When her sons were asked "Where was the best Greek food in town" they had a biased answer. She was always willing to lend a helping hand in any way she could. She once got a last-minute call from her elder son that 8 of his friends were coming through town from an engagement party. Without hesitation, she fed and housed the grateful crew for both dinner and breakfast before seeing them off. One summer she housed and cooked for a friend of her younger son's during his summer-long internship in Manchester. Yet another time, when a couple needed help with a down payment for a house, Soultana was there to help. There are countless examples of her kindness and generosity. Soultana was a dear friend to many in the community and to her final days her telephone and doorbell rang frequently throughout the day.
Soultana was married to George Mokas for just short of 42 years when he passed in 1988. She was predeceased by her father Constantinos (1943) and mother Haidou (2000); her sister Amalia (2001) and Amalia's husband Michael Colombos (1978); and her sister-in-law Zoitsa Moutsioulis Tzimopoulos (2011) and Zoitsa's husbands George Moutsioulis and James Tzimopoulos. She is survived by her son John and his wife Shelly and her son Constantinos (Deno) and his wife Beth; her brother George Zioze and his wife Phyllis and her brother John Zioze and his significant other Lucy Skouteris; her grandchildren Drew, Anna, Eli, George, and Nicholas Mokas; and her nephews Nicholas Colombos, Dean Zioze and Elias Moutsioulis and nieces Haidy Zioze and Despina (Poppy) Tsoutsas. She is also survived by many other cousins, grandnieces, and grandnephews both here and in Greece.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Spiros Mitsopoulos, Dr. Emilios Karagiannis, the many doctors, nurses and staff at the Elliot Hospital and the nurses at VNA – Hospice for the wonderful care of YiaYia.
Her brother said it best on the day of her passing that she, like many of her generation from that part of Greece, had a difficult start, but built a very fulfilling and happy life.
Visiting hours will be Wednesday, April 27th from 10 to 11:30 am at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 650 Hanover St. The funeral service will follow at 11:30 am in the Cathedral. Burial will be in Pine Grove Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to either St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 650 Hanover St, Manchester, NH 03104 or to The Daughters of Fourka, care of Pindos Restaurant, 49 Massabesic St, Manchester, NH 03103.
Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory, Manchester, is assisting with arrangements.
To send an online message of condolence, please go to www.lambertfuneralhome.com.