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Publication: Globe and Mail, The
Issue: 11 February 2011, page R12
Title: EILEEN GANETAKOS (Death Notice)
Web Link: link
1910-2010 A Memorial Mass commemorating the life of Eileen Ganetakos is set for tomorrow in Toronto. Mrs. Ganetakos, who celebrated her 100th birthday six months ago, died Dec. 22, 2010 at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. After successful surgery at Toronto Western Hospital to correct a fractured hip, Mrs. Ganetakos was expected to return home after she completed physical rehabilitation at the city's Bridgepoint Health Centre. When a respiratory infection persisted, she was moved to St. Michael's, where she passed away, surrounded by her family, four days later. The fourth of five children of Canadian-born Ida Clark and British-born James Mather, Eileen Mary Mather grew up in Montreal and regarded her birth date of August 8 as her personal good luck charm 'the eighth day of the eighth month.' Quietly extroverted, she fared well in school but was a natural performer who soon found her niche as a professional dancer. Too young to patronize the theatres and night clubs where she performed, she spent most of her career chaperoned by her mother, and in her early teens was already contributing to the family household budget with her older siblings. She retired from dancing in 1934 to marry John Ganetakos, the son of Greek immigrant George Ganetakos, one of the founders of the Quebec movie house chain United Amusements. In the early `40s she and her husband moved to the Montreal suburb of Hampstead, where she devoted herself to raising her daughter, Penelope, and her son, George. After the death of her husband in 1959 she moved to Notre-Dame-de-Grace, but ten years later, when her children had relocated to Toronto, she moved to Ontario to join them, spending most of the next four decades enjoying downtown living at Sutton Place, Palace Pier and Rosedale Glen. In the past few years she had lived with her son and daughter-in-law in the Annex, and in her 90's gradually reduced her social activities, preferring to let the party come to her. Notable exceptions included her weekly appointments with her longtime hairdresser John Arbuckle; special treks to Northumberland County to visit her friends Jack Bond, Kevin Shortt and Kim & Roberto Chiotti; lunches with her daughter at the InterContinental and Park Hyatt hotels; and family dinners at Bistro 990, where she celebrated her 99th birthday. On January 17, 2010, she welcomed her first great grandson, Jack Alexander Ganetakos. On August 8, 2010, she celebrated her 100th birthday at home in the Annex, where she was feted by young old friends at an afternoon cocktail party which was followed by a formal family dinner in her honour. Despite her protests that everyone was making 'too much fuss,' she later admitted that she had loved every minute of it, including the personalized greetings she received from, among others, Toronto mayor David Miller, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Her Excellency GovernorGeneral Michaelle Jean and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. A devoted reader of Maclean's and Hello magazines, she maintained a voracious appetite for Canadian and international news. In her lifetime she had seen horse-drawn bread and milk wagons replaced by trucks, iceboxes replaced by refrigerators, vaccines discovered for diphtheria and polio, silent movies become talkies, the Great Depression, the birth of television, the Holocaust, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the electric typewriter, Trans Canada Airlines, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Churchill, Hitler, Pierre Trudeau, the Kennedys, men walking on the moon, Oprah Winfrey & Ellen Degeneres, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, Rick Mercer, Joan Rivers, Brian Linehan, the Internet, 19 Canadian prime ministers, eight popes and 16 U.S. presidents, and until her death remained a staunch defender of the Royal Family and a fervent admirer of U.S. president Barack Obama. The much-loved family matriarch is survived by her daughter Penelope and her son George; her daughter-in-law Gail Ganetakos (nee Armstrong), her devoted grandchildren Marc Ganetakos & Tonya, Alex Ganetakos Johnston & Charles, and Joseph Ganetakos & Mary Walsh; and her nephews John Mather & Margadell, Bob Lavell & Maureen, Jim Lavell & Donna and Rick Lavell & Isabelle. Also mourning her passing are great nieces and nephews David Giles, Annabelle Louvros (nee Giles), Marika Giles Samson, Michael Henick, Louise Lavell, John Lavell, Susan, Lorraine & Karen Lavell, Kathy, Kim, Tammy & Tracy Lavell, Marissa & Milena Moore, and Gregory Mather. Extended family members sharing their loss include David Armstrong, Liz Stirling Giles, Lois Johnston, Nikos Louvros, Philippos Louvros, Jude Samson, Nerelle Cooper Terry and Pat Walsh. Eileen was predeceased by her four siblings, Douglas Mather, Leslie Mather, Doris Lavell (nee Mather), and Irma Mather; her husband John Ganetakos; her sisters-in-law Teresa Mather (nee Kavanagh), Loretto Mather (nee Hamilton) and Marie Giles (nee Ganetakos); her brothers-in-law Bob Lavell and Harold Giles; her niece Mary Henick Moore (nee Lavell); her nephew Robert Giles and his first wife, Karil Giles (nee Evans); and almost all her contemporaries. The family wishes to express its appreciation to Dr. Khalid A Syed and his colleagues at the Toronto Western Hospital; Julie San Juan and her excellent team at Bridgepoint Health Centre; the exceptional staff in Emergency and Palliative Care unit of St. Michael's Hospital; and Eileen's special caregivers Vanilyn Flores and Aida Sanchez. Family and friends will gather in Toronto this weekend for a Memorial Mass in her honour on Saturday, February 12, 2011, at 11:00 am at St. Basil's Church at 50 St. Joseph Street. Condolences and memories may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.