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"The Promise of Tomorrow 1940-1960" awarded Best Feature Documentary at the Beverly Hills Film, TV & New Media Festival. To view the Press Release click here.

 

 


Faye Kyriax Demetriou

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Fayer Kyriax Demetriou Family
First Row: Peter Kyriax, Chris, Penny and Tom Caras Second Row: Marigo and Faye Kyriax, Katherine Caras

Faye Kyriax Demetriou was born February, 1927, in Sopoto, Greece, to John and Voula Fassos, their second daughter. Voula had a sister, Marigo Kyriax, who lived in San Pedro, California, and was unable to have children. Marigo with her husband Peter decided to travel to Greece and ask Voula and John if they would be willing to allow them to adopt their lovely curly haired, blond, brown-eyed girl who was 9 months old . This was a difficult decision for them to make; but in the end John and Voula decided to let the Kyriaxes adopt her. After she was baptized and named Fotiny (now known as Faye) they boarded the ship named Aquitania and set sail for America and brought Faye to San Pedro, California and her new life.

Faye lived a happy childhood. Her mother always spoke to her in Greek, telling her stories about growing up in Greece, a promise Marigo had made to her birth mother. When Faye was old enough for school, Marigo lied about her age, saying she was 6 when she was only 5. This advanced Faye to first grade at Cabrillo Avenue School, even though she spoke almost no English. However, Faye was a smart student, picked up the English language easily and became an avid reader. Faye loved the weekends when her Aunt Katherine and Uncle Tom Caras would come and visit with their children, Chris and Penny, her favorite playmates. Then one fateful day in November 1939, the family traveled to Los Angeles for a Greek community dance. As the Kyriax family was returning to San Pedro, there was a heavy fog. Suddenly, there was a car coming right at them and plowed into them. Faye survived the crash; however, both of her parents were killed instantly. Faye was hospitalized unaware of her parents’ death until she returned to her Aunt’s and Uncle’s home 5 days later. Her Uncle Tom and Aunt Katherine Caras told her this was her family now and she would be raised as if she were their own. She now had siblings – Chris, Penny and Helen. Even though Faye was very sad at losing her beloved parents, she felt safe and cared for by her new family.

Faye USC Graduation Photo
Faye Kyriax USC Graduation photo 1948

Faye was active in many school functions at George Washington High School, graduated with honors and was given a partial scholarship to attend the University of Southern California (USC). Because of her excellent grades she eventually was awarded a full scholarship. She completed her teaching credentials and a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Guidance.

In 1946, many young Greek men returned from WWII and enrolled at USC. Among them was Jim Demetriou, tall and handsome, with a winning smile. They had met earlier when Faye was 5 years old, and they became re-acquainted as they continued their studies at USC.

After completing USC, Faye visited Greece, where she finally met her birth mother, brother and sisters. This was a very emotional experience. Faye remained there for two months and traveled to meet many relatives in Patras, Soudena, Kalavryta, Mazeika and Sopoto where she was born.

Demetriou Family
Demetriou Family 1961
Top row: Jim and Faye Second row: Peter and Andrew Third Row: Steve and Mary Kay  

Upon returning in 1949, Faye began her career teaching at Gardena High School and remained there for 4 years. In 1952, Jim Demetriou completed his studies for his PhD degree, and their friendship was renewed. They became engaged in December 1952 and were married July 19, 1953 at the beautiful Saint Sophia Cathedral. Over the next few years, Faye and Jim became parents of Andrew and Peter, and twins, Steven and Mary Kay. In 1958, Faye was asked to teach at the Gardena Adult School two nights a week. With Jim’s help, Faye was able to continue her career which she loved. In 1966, the Demetrious moved to Sherman Oaks where Jim was offered a position in Bio Science Laboratories in Van Nuys, and Faye was assigned to the West Valley Occupational Center in Woodland Hills.

Faye’s new position at West Valley Occupational Center was very challenging. She taught all levels of English, math, algebra, history and social studies. Faye was one of the first teachers in Adult Education in the Los Angeles School District to organize a “Learning Center” and assisted others in implementing this type of instruction. Faye remained there for 11 years, taking classes to qualify for an administrative credential. She was assigned to Van Nuys Adult School as counselor and then as assistant principal to Evans Community Adult School which served 10,000 students a day.

Faye as Principal at Manual Arts Adult School 1986-87
Faye as Principal at Manual Arts Adult School 1986-87

She went on to Manual Arts and Jefferson Adult Schools as principal and then transferred to Reseda Adult School. Adult education was Faye’s passion. She retired in 1989 after a 34 year educational career.

Throughout all this time with Jim at her side, they raised 4 wonderful children and remained extremely active in their beloved Saint Sophia Cathedral. St. Sophia was where they grew up, married, baptized their children and have been involved on many committees. Both Jim and Faye to this day remain active: Faye in charge of the St. Sophia docent program and with the Philoptochos VIP organization; and Jim on the St. Sophia Foundation as Vice President-CFO.

Faye Demetriou was interviewed by the Greek Heritage Society in 2002. GHS wishes to thank her for sharing the book printed for her grandchildren, “Nona Remembers,” written in 2009, from where information for this article was obtained. Photos were provided by Faye Demetriou. The GHS members involved in this project were Gus T. Dalis, Harry Ratner, Zoye Marino Fidler and Shelly Papadopoulos.

Faye and Jim Demetriou   Demetriou Family 2002
Jim and Faye Demetriou
  Entire Demetriou Family taken at St. Sophia’s Mother’s Day Luncheon in 2002 where Faye was honored.

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For further information or questions, please contact us.

Shelly Papadopoulos
(424) 261-GRGR (261-4747)
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