Peter Fasseas always had a lot going on. Football, client meetings, the stock market… lamb dinners at The Parthenon, always with extra fasolakia. But if there were two things that defined the Peter I knew, they were family and philanthropy.
I first met the man who would eventually become my “Chicago dad” right after first moving to the Windy City in the late 90s. I rented an apartment in the Lakeview neighborhood and almost immediately visited the local bank– North Community Bank– to open my new account in my new city.
A few days later a friend said “you know the bank is Greek-owned, right?” No, I didn’t at the time but I was happy to know that I was supporting a Greek-owned business.
Eventually, I would meet Peter, along with his wife Paula, who together with their children Alexis and Drew, would not only be my bankers in Chicago, they became my extended Chicago family.
Over the years I was welcomed into their generous homes, in Chicago for meals and parties, or just to watch Bears games on television, at the family’s winter home in Laguna Beach, where our dogs played together and the family hosted fundraising events for the Greek America Foundation.
We spent weeks on end in Greece– a country he loved dearly and the place he never forgot that gave him his ideals. Philotimo, dedication to family, and of course– philanthropy. It was central to his DNA to support everything from local Greek politicians– regardless of party, or organizations across the nation doing good work.
Peter’s dedication to cancer research– and millions of dollars of support to such institutions across the United States– also touched me personally when I was diagnosed with cancer, myself and realized that the treatments that I was receiving were made possible by dedicated people like him who had funded research.
Peter’s hats were many and his titles and accolades abundant. Entrepreneur, small-business-advocate, son-of-immigrants, philanthropist… I can go on.
But if I had to choose one title to mark his legacy on this earth during his 82 years… It would be familyman. Paula, Alexis, Drew and his beloved grandchildren were everything to him.
Peter’s full obituary, as published in The Chicago Tribune, is below.
Peter A. Fasseas, 82, community banker and small business advocate, passed peacefully in his Laguna Beach winter home after a valiant, 15-year battle with cancer. A family man above all else, he was surrounded by loved ones.
Born June 10, 1939 in Chicago, Peter’s formative years during the post-war era led him to attend Culver Military Academy for high school, where he learned the value of discipline and perseverance. In addition to serving in US Army Intelligence, he went on to Northwestern University for undergraduate and law school and was a lifelong Wildcat and Cubs fan.
As an attorney, he represented many hardworking small business entrepreneurs and grew frustrated by how difficult it was for them to obtain bank loans. In 1978, he and his wife, Paula, gathered a group of investors and purchased North Community Bank, a one-office bank near Wrigley Field. He began by making all the loans himself at a time when Illinois was a unit-bank state, which limited every financial institution to one location. Helping people obtain their version of the American Dream was his motivation, building small businesses and vitalizing communities. Under his leadership, Metropolitan Bank Group grew into the largest privately held bank group in Illinois, with 98 locations and 1,100 employees. In 2013, the company was recapitalized and turned into Byline Bank.
After his retirement, Peter continued serving the communities he loved through board and philanthropic service. He was a trustee and supporter of Culver Military Academy, the University of Arizona Foundation, the Hellenic Foundation, Chicago City Day School and PAWS Chicago, the organization his wife and daughter founded in 1997 that has grown into one of the largest No Kill animal welfare organizations in the nation.
Peter and Paula established the Fasseas Foundation, funding The University of Arizona Fasseas Cancer Center, supporting cancer research at Dana Farber and other leading medical universities, and providing resources to many other charities across the country.
Loved ones greatly miss his contagious smile, booming voice, unceasing positivity, passion for life (and the stock market), sound and steady counsel and grounding in the Midwestern values that he held true to throughout his life.
He is survived by Paula (Sfarnas) Fasseas, his wife of 46 years, his children Alexis and Drew, daughter-in-law Meghan, three grandchildren Katherine Polyxeni, Alexandra Ione, and Olivia James, brother Milton (Kathy) Fasseas, sister-in-law Jeannie (David) Howell and many loving cousins, nieces, nephews, and godchildren.
Wake and funeral services will be held at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Tucson, Arizona on March 19, 2022 at 9:00 am. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Peter’s honor to PAWS Chicago or cancer research.
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