Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Maryland) penned a tribute to his late father, longtime congressman Paul Sarbanes, in which he recounted his father’s love and pride in his Greek heritage.
Sarbanes died on December 6 at the age of 87. He was the son of Matina (Tsigounis) and Spyros who emigrated from Laconia, Greece, and began his career cleaning tables and washing dishes at his parents’ restaurant on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
From his first days in Congress, Sarbanes became a champion for causes of importance to Greek Americans. His son’s written tribute adds to a list of testimonials which have poured in from organizations such as the American Hellenic Institute and Order of AHEPA as well as public figures including President-elect Joe Biden and Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.
The full text of John Sarbanes’ piece follows below. The congressman also paid homage to his late father during a recent speech on the House Floor.
On December 6, 2020, my father Senator Paul Sarbanes passed away at age 87. Our family has been overwhelmed by the many tributes to him that have been pouring in from all over the country, including many from the Greek community.
My father was deeply proud of his Greek heritage and the fact that his immigrant mother and father, lacking any formal education, made a life for themselves in America and gave their children the opportunity to succeed.
In 1985, I had the incredible experience of traveling with my father to Richea, the village in southern Greece that his father left in 1909 to come to America. My father was so proud standing in front of the two room ancestral home where his father grew up. That blue color on the door frame is the famous “Sarbanes Blue” that my dad used from his first days in politics right through to his last race for the Senate.
In everything he did, my father embodied philotimo. His work ethic was fierce and his integrity unbending. That combination powered a life of public service that will be long cherished by the many whose lives he touched.
May his memory be eternal.
In lieu of flowers, the Sarbanes family has asked that donations be made in Paul’s memory to the following charitable organizations:
Paul S. Sarbanes ’54 Fund for Hellenism and Public Service
Please note that the gift is for the Paul S. Sarbanes ’54 Fund for Hellenism and Public Service in memory of Senator Sarbanes and not Annual Giving. Click here
Enoch Pratt Free Library
Please note that the gift is to recognize Senator Sarbanes. Click here.
Paul S. Sarbanes Lecture Series
Salisbury University’s Institute of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Protecting the Chesapeake in memory of Senator Paul Sarbanes. Click here.
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