John Kantjas was born in Deary, Idaho, on August 29, 1919, and was the son of Nicolas J. Kantjas, a Greek emigrant, and his wife Winnifred Grace Taylor. Nicolas's origin was probably from Mainalo, a small Greek village in Tripoli, in the Peloponesse area, and his original name was Nikolaos Kantzavelos. When he arrived in Ellis Island in 1905 at the age of 22 years old he shortened it to be easier to pronounce in English. Nicolas wasn't the only one from his family to immigrate. His brother Napoleon came also and lived in Chicago, Illinois according to John’s recollections. Unfortunately, Nicolas died when John was only 13 years old. Because he had a younger brother and a sister and because his sister was mentally ill, his mother sent him to live on a friend's ranch in Idaho. He loved that place - always talked about it. He was an avid outdoorsman - loved to hunt, fish, and camp. After high school he worked his way through college by working as a lumberjack and afterward he attended the University of Idaho, studying logistics, to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). According to his daughter Linda:
"I heard that while he was on the Lexington Carrier he used to study hard for the CPA exam instead of goofing around with the others."
Probably while at ...
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