Kehayias 12

WILLIAM ‘VASILIOS’ KEHAYIAS

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William “Bill” Vasilios Kehayias was born in New York City, July 10, 1925. His father, Zafirios Anthony Kehayias was a Greek immigrant from Chorlou, a small town in Eastern Thrace, which at the turn of the 20th Century was part of the Ottoman Empire. Zafirios was born May 21, 1893, was a cobbler and married to Vasiliki who was from the nearby town of Rodosto, also in Eastern Thrace. They immigrated to the US on the SS Argentina, arriving September 1, 1913, and settled in New York City. Zafirios eventually owned and operated a shoe repair and hat cleaners at 3675 Broadway in upper Manhattan. According to his Declaration of Intention to naturalize, submitted on June 9, 1924, he and Vasiliki were living at 228 West 149th Street. Their son Vasilios (William) was born a year later. Zafirios struggled to keep his shoe store during the Great Depression and to add to his troubles, his wife Vasiliki passed away and he was raising his son Bill by himself. The Kehayias family joined the Greek Orthodox Church community of St. Spyridon in Washington Heights, located on Wadsworth Avenue, not that close to where they lived but the most vibrant Greek community in NYC, if not among the Greek communities in the entire United States. Bill joined the St. Spyridon youth group called the EON (Elliniki Orthodox Neolea - Greek Orthodox Youth), where Bill played basketball and captained the EON baseball and football teams. Vasili “Bill” was a bright student and when he completed junior high school, applied and was accepted into one of the top public high schools in NYC, Stuyvesant High School. According to his 1943 high school yearbook, he must have excelled in there, earning a scholarship pin, making the honor roll, and was his class Vice President. A typical wartime yearbook, Bill listed that his post-high school plan was to join in the US Army Air Corps. While still a high school senior, he enlisted in the US Army Air Force on April 9, 1943, in the USAAF’s Air Cadet Program for high school students. As a 17-year-old, he needed his father’s signature on his enlistment papers and his father was reluctant to sign, giving his permission for his only son to join the army. After a few minutes, Bill got impatient and said to his Greek immigrant father:

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Sakis 46

ACHILLES ‘CHILI’ SAKIS (TSAKEREDES)

Sakis 6
USAF F-16D VISTA

Achilles 'Chili' Sakis (Tsakeredes) is the son of Greek immigrants, George (deceased) and Sotiria Tsakeredes, who emigrated to the United States from Greece. Achilles is named after his grandfather, whose Pontic Greek family was forced from the Trabzon area of Turkey during the forced deportation of Greeks from the area in the early 1900s. Sotiria’s father moved his wife, Agape, and their four children from a small village near Kilkis, Greece to the United States in search of a better life in the mid-1940s. They arrived by boat on Ellis Island when Sotiria was only nine years old. Years later, when Sotiria was 17, she was visiting Greece and heard of a celebration happening in Vyroneia, a small village not far from where she was raised as a child. It is there that she met and fell in love with her husband, George. George had served in the Greek Army and was now living in his hometown village of Vyroneia, where he farmed and raised livestock. He played the ......

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