May 4, 1945 – March 1, 2023
Our beautiful and much beloved Mother and Matriarch, Olga Sirigas, died unexpectedly surrounded by her four children on March 1, 2023. Those who were fortunate enough to be in her life knew how truly special she was. She loved her children fiercely and was our most prized cheerleader, always encouraging us to do our best. Her radiant, sweet smile was infectious as was her pure goodness. Her unconditional love and selflessness was her trademark; she made time for all who needed her wisdom.
Olga was born on the island of Ikaria, Greece in 1945 where she married her husband of 55 years, Leonidas. In 1969 Olga immigrated with her three young daughters (Toula, Maria and Christina) to the United States where her husband was waiting to start a new life with them. The family settled in the Chicago area, where in the company of fellow family members and friends, made a home. A son, Christ, soon followed and completed the family. Olga was a long-time parishioner at St. Constantine and Helen, Greek Orthodox Church in Palos Hills. She was also a member of the Pan Icarian Brotherhood (Chapter Foutrides). It was however in her role as Wife and Mother where Olga’s legacy will be remembered most. Her devotion to her husband Leonidas (who preceded her in death in 2019 and is laid to rest in their beloved village) was notable in her loving care for him. Rarely apart, they divided their last 25 years between their home in Chicago and the beautiful Villa they built in their ancestral village of Magganiti, Ikaria Greece.
She was a tender mother to her children and imparted life lessons through example. Her greatest joy was relishing in the success of her children and her seven grandchildren. Her adoration for her grandchildren knew no bounds, Yiayia Olga wanted to know all the tiny details of their lives. Yiayia’s cooking and her special egg-lemon soup had the power to heal wounds and hearts. Most recently she took great delight in meeting, holding and singing to her first great grandchild.
Olga was a homemaker and hostess extraordinaire. She welcomed all her visitors with a warm smile and hug. She had the ability to make everyone who entered her home feel like family. Indeed, if speaking to you, you had all her attention. Our mom was not just a mom to us but would extend her maternal superpowers to anyone she sensed needed them.
When not instilling motherly wisdom, she could be found at the card table amongst friends, always laughing and enjoying the “parea.” She so loved going to her son’s restaurant, The Harvest Room, where she could spend time with her son and daughter, Christ and Christina. She was so proud of them and the entire staff adored her and called her Momma. Mom couldn’t wait for springtime were she and Leo traveled to Ikaria to their home, waiting for her children and grandchildren to join them for summertime festivities. Morning coffee along with lively conversation on the terrace was the norm and would go through the afternoon with neighbors and friends constantly stopping by. An afternoon swim in the Aegean and seaside lunching was her favorite. Mom loved company, offering them her homemade jams and jellies along with here delicious cakes and koulourakia (Greek cookies) . She enjoyed island music and was a spirited dancer. Mom’s zest for life will live on in our hearts forever.
Our mom is survived by her children: Toula Koklanaris (George), Maria Sirigas Tsalis, Christina Sirigas and Christ Sirigas (Carri), her grandchildren: Olivia Olga Lemerand (Zachary), Nick Koklanaris, Jack Tsalis, Lea Angeliki Tsalis, Christos-Leo Sirigas, Evangelitsa Sirigas, Aristotle (Lykos) Sirigas, and baby great-granddaughter Lennon Tula Lemerand. Olga is also survived by her loving siblings: her older brother,Phillip Manolis, who stood by her side her entire life, her younger siblings, Vangelis Manolis and Koula Manolis, both from Greece, who considered her their second mother. She is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews who loved her dearly. Lastly, our mom is survived by so many loving friends who affectionately called her “Youla”, the most beautiful girl in the village and the Flower of Magganiti.
May her beautiful loving memory be eternal.