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Prominent Greek American Alex Spanos passes

One of the most prominent personalities of the Hellenic American Community and one of the richest people in the United States, Alex Spanos, died on Tuesday 9 October at the age of 95.

He was the owner of construction company A. G. Spanos and the American football team San Diego Chargers. He was distinguished for his many charitable activities in the United States, Greece, the Church of America and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

As reported by the family of the deceased, "Alex Spanos died calmly surrounded by his loved ones."

In recent years, he has been ill and avoided public appearances, and in August he lost his wife, Faye (Papafakli), with whom he had been married since August 22, 1948. They met the same year while Alex was serving in the Air Force in Tampa Florida, they were married in Tarpon Springs and had 4 children and 15 grandchildren.

A son of Greek immigrants (his father came from the village of Eva of Messenia), Alex Spanos was the epitome of the American dream.

In 1951 he took the risk and left his father's bakery, and with a $ 800 loan he bought a canteen selling sandwiches to migrant farmers in the San Juaqin Valley. With the help of his wife he created an extremely successful catering company, which in 1956 began to invest in real estate.

In 1960, he created the construction company A.G.Spanos, which became one of the largest in the construction of housing in the United States. Until he retired from active service, he was the owner of 8 companies beside A.G. Spanos, including the San Diego Chargers team, which he bought in 1984.

The list of the 400 richest Americans of Forbes magazine, recently released, ranks Alex Spanos in 344th place with a fortune of $ 2.4 billion.

Alex Spanos was one of the major financiers of the Republican Party, and as he was acquainted with Ronald Reagan since he was the governor of California, when he became President of the United States, he began a strong friendship with him, and he continued with the two George Bushes. In Greece he became known after the devastating earthquakes of Kalamata in 1986.

He came to his parents' home town and offered substantial sums to relieve the people affected. The warm reception that Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou's then gave him created a firm friendship that lasted for many years. As he reveals in his 2002 book, "Shaping the Wealth: My Story", Alex Spanos then tried to persuade President Ronald Reagan to cancel the travel directive he had issued against Greece and to improve relations with the Greek government, but the then US president was unmoveable.