January 25, 1934 – May 17, 2019
A long-time resident of East Lansing, Mary was born more than eighty years ago in Jackson, Michigan, to Ella and Alexander Volakakis. As she grew up, she was never to forget that she was Greek. It became a treasured part of her American identity.
Mary entered the working world following graduation from high school. Several years later, in 1959, she began her long career with the State of Michigan. As a young working woman, she also gave some thought to what would really be important in her life, and she realized that earning a bachelor’s degree was her dream.
Determined to make this a reality, Mary enrolled in Lansing Community College, where she got high marks and was awarded and associate’s degree cum laude. She followed this success by transferring to Michigan State University, and, in 1981, she achieved her goal, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. Going to college was a decision she never regretted.
Over the years, Mary traveled the world, flying to England, Spain, France, China, Brazil, Austria, Italy. She found her trips to Greece and the Greek Isles especially memorable, reflecting a natural interest in her Greek heritage.
The theater held a special fascination for Mary. She participated behind the scenes in local productions as an assistant director. Among other projects, she worked on props and in writing reviews for the community theater paper. She particularly enjoyed reviewing the children’s plays.
Along with the theater, Mary appreciated opera. She devoted many a Saturday afternoon listening to opera on the radio, and she also attended productions at the Wharton Center. Carmen was a favorite.
Some may not know this, but Mary belonged to a writing group. And much of her writing captured her warmth, her caring, her love of life and her wonderful sense of humor. None of the real joys or ironies of life escaped Mary’s delicate turn of phrase.
She had a circle of loyal friends who appreciated her talents and abilities. with her innate kindness as well as through her writing and her other interests, Mary created a genuine sense of welcome for all who were privileged to know her.
Mary was preceded in death by her older brothers, George and Nicholas, and her older sister, Joann. She will be remembered by her many friends.
The funeral service will be held at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, May 22, 2019, at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 1701 E. Saginaw St., Lansing, with interment to follow in East Lawn Memory Gardens. Visitation will be from 2:00 – 4:00 and 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel, with a Trisagion Service at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Memorial contributions may be made to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in memory of Mary Volakakis.