Maria Zouglas

Maria Loumankis Zouglas fell asleep in the Lord peacefully, Monday, June 18, 2018. Beloved wife of 51 years of the late Gregory Zouglas. Loving mother of Helen Koutsioukis and husband, Steve, and Christina Ginos and husband, Tom. Beloved YiaYia of Stasha Koutsioukis and husband, Ahmet Erkaya, Telly Koutsioukis and wife, Caroline, Greg Ginos and John Ginos.  Sweet Great Grandmother known as "Manna", of Alexander Erkaya and Zachary Koutsioukis. She was an aunt, cousin, koumbara, godmother and friend to many. More than the family matriarch to her siblings' children, she loved them as her own, stepping in as the mother and grandmother figure to her family in Canada. She was a role model to us all.

Her Life...
May 1959 marked the beginning of a new chapter in Maria’s life: her prayers were answered and a new life in America began, with her whole family together for the first time in 12 years. Through very difficult times, the idea of peace and prosperity in the New World kept her focused. And her faith in God guided her path through not only the years of struggle, but also in happier days, writing the pages of her heroic life. She was a strong and loving presence and has touched all of our hearts. Her quiet dedication to her community and to Christ has always been of great importance to her. Maria has always given back, selflessly without the need of recognition. Her Christ-like actions stem from genuine devotion to her family, her church and her community. Maria was born in the northern Greek village of Kraniona, Kastoria and lived the first quarter of her life in the midst of WWII and the Greek civil war. She was one of the few people, and even fewer women, who earned her secondary education during that period. At a young age, she was sent from her home in the village to attend an all-girls boarding school in the city of Kastoria. Maria married Gregory Zouglas in 1946 and soon after gave birth to her first daughter, Helen, who would help to keep her spirit, faith and resilience strong on the tough road ahead. In 1949, with the Greek Civil War still raging, Maria and Helen, still a toddler, along with the entire village of women and elderly people, were forcibly taken by the Communist forces and partisans to Poland so the children could be brought up under a Communist regime. Throughout those difficult times, Maria's devotion to her Greek Orthodox faith kept her centered, strong and brave. Under dire circumstances in Poland, her faith was put to the test. But she persevered, became the fearless leader and spokesperson for her family and fellow villagers. She had faith that God would guide her to help those in her care. It was ten long years before they could return to Greece and another two before they would be reunited with Gregory in St Louis. When their daughter was a year old, Gregory was called to serve his country as a soldier not realizing it would be more than a decade before he would be reunited with his family.  Upon returning from service, he found his village empty, destroyed by war. Hoping to discover his family's fate, he turned to his brother, Mickey, who was sent to St. Louis as a young boy. Fortunately, Mickey and Maria were corresponding and Gregory was relieved to discover that his family was still alive. When she arrived in St. Louis, her new home in 1959, she faced the challenges of being a "new wife", mother to a teenager, restaurant owner and home owner. Always an independent spirit, Maria learned English quickly and soon learned to drive. And then at the age of 39, 19 years after Helen was born, Maria became a mother all over again with the birth of her second daughter, Christina. Maria was a YiaYia to four adoring grandchildren, Anastasia, Telly, Greg and John and two great grandchildren, Alex and Zachary.  They will greatly miss her love and devotion, resilience, pious advice, koulouria and pitas. She was also a surrogate Greek YiaYia to many and beloved by all. She was "old school", yet she easily navigated an iPhone to stay in touch with her grandchildren. She was an avid gardener that loved to share her bounty with neighbors and friends. She was a master cook and baker who proudly created the Vasilopita used in our annual church celebration. She was a self-taught expert in the art of crocheting, who loved to gift handmade items. There are many people in this parish who have scarves made by her hand or have received prayer shawls given with her loving heart – a gift of God's warm embrace from one of his selfless servants. Like the experienced gardener that she was, Maria was rewarded with the bounty of life and continued to reap the fruits of her labor by watching her family and extended family grow and follow in her footsteps through the example she had set. God planted the seed of faith in Maria and through hard work, dedication, daily discipline, hope and love, her faith continued to grow throughout her life. She will be deeply missed.  May she rest in peace and may her memory be eternal.

Services: Visitation Thursday, June 21 at 9:00 am, followed by Funeral Service at 11:00 am at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 4967 Forest Park Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63108. Interment New St. Marcus Cemetery.

Donations: Memorial contributions preferred to St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. 


Visitation: Thursday, June 21, 2018, 9:00 am - 11:00 am
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church: 4967 Forest Park Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63108
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Funeral Service: Thursday, June 21, 2018, 11:00 am
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church: 4967 Forest Park Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63108
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Interment: Thursday, June 21, 2018, 12:30 pm
New St. Marcus Cemetery: 7901 Gravois Road, Affton, Missouri 63123
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