Stella (Stamatiki) Waggoner (nee Gritsonis), beloved mother, sister, aunt and grandmother, passed away peacefully on March 6, 2019 at age 90. Stella enjoyed her later years in good health and lived close to her daughter’s family in Michigan. She fell asleep peacefully at home.
She was the only daughter of Athanasios and Katherine Gritsonis and, along with her surviving brother John, grew up in Chicago near Assumption Greek Orthodox Church. She and her brother spoke Greek as their first language, leaning English only upon entering public school. Stella completed the Plato Greek School program, the Sunday school program, and sang in the church choir. Her father passed away in 1941, and being the oldest child, Stella took responsibility for her family and began working as a secretary the day after she graduated from Austin High School. She worked hard to provide for her mother and younger brother.
Stella was briefly married to Tom Koutouzis in Chicago, who tragically died after only a few years of marriage. She married John B. Waggoner on February 23, 1962 at Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church. John was an engineer at Caterpillar Inc. and Stella eventually took on life as a full-time mother of two children in their house in Joliet. Stella and John are survived by daughter Jennifer Patselas of Ann Arbor, MI, and son Paul Waggoner of Joliet, IL. They were married 53 years and were longtime members of the parish of All Saints Greek Orthodox Church in Joliet. Over the years, Stella taught Sunday school and volunteered in many capacities at church and her children’s schools. She and John frequently volunteered and gave generously. In 1979 they built a house in Shorewood, and lived there until John died in 2015. In trademark Stella fashion, it was yellow.
Stella moved to Ann Arbor in 2015 and enjoyed the love and care of her daughter, son-in-law Chris Patselas, and granddaughters Juliana, Chrysanthe, and Zoe. In Ann Arbor, Stella became a member of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and enjoyed her new community.
She loved books, reading newspapers, and listening to WGN radio. With impeccable cursive handwriting, she penned many beautiful letters and documented family photographs. She stayed up as late as we as teens stayed out. After becoming a “yiayia” in 1997, Stella took up needlepoint and her gorgeous Christmas stockings are family treasures. She always had time for our phone calls, no matter when or how often. Her warmth, care, and simply being there are deeply missed. We love you Mom.
Visitation will be Friday, March 15, 2019 at Fred C. Dames, 3200 Black Road Joliet, IL from 4:00 pm until 7:00 p.m. The Trisagion Service will be at 4:00 p.m. The Funeral service will be on Saturday, March 16, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. at All Saints Greek Orthodox Church, 102 N. Broadway St, Joliet IL. Interment will follow in Elmwood Cemetery, River Grove, IL. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to All Saints Greek Orthodox Church, attn: Endowment Fund, 102 N. Broadway St, Joliet IL 60435.
For more information, please call (815) 741-5500 or visit her Memorial Tribute at www.fredcdames.com