Mary Pappasideris Chachas, Former Salt Lake Tribune Staffer, Dies at 84
Mary Pappasideris Chachas, wife, mother, journalist and great friend to many in Salt Lake City died Friday after a long battle with leukemia. She was born January 27, 1931, in Bingham Canyon, Utah, to Artemis Bistarakis and George Pappasideris, both of whom had come to the United States from Megara, Greece.
Mary graduated as valedictorian from Bingham High School in 1949. She attended the University of Utah where she participated in many student affairs, including Spurs, Cwean and Mortar Board. She graduated with high honors and was editor-in-chief of the The Daily Utah Chronicle and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi and Beehive Honor Society. She affiliated with Delta Delta Delta sorority.
Mary joined the staff of The Salt Lake Tribune in 1953 upon her graduation from the University of Utah, first as a writer for its Magazine Section contributing general features and later was appointed as the Tribune’s Women’s Section editor. She was one of the youngest female editors at the paper in that era.
She was married to Gregory J. Chachas in 1958, and in 1960, moved with her husband to Ely, Nevada, where his family had ranching interests. She was an active mother of three sons and a participant in numerous community affairs in Ely.
She worked in the public relations department of the Nevada Mines Division of Kennecott Copper Corp. for several years, writing and editing the Company publication The Kennevadan. She was a member of the American Association of University Women and served as chairperson of the White Pine County Library Board, spearheading an effort to build a new library in Ely, a matter to which she was deeply committed as she was a voracious reader.
An off-campus branch of Northern Nevada Community College in Elko, Nevada, was established in Ely and she served as coordinator for education classes offered in her community for several years. She also was a licensed real estate broker during the years raising her sons near the Cleveland Ranch owned by her husband’s family.
With sons attending graduate schools on the West and East coasts, she and her husband enjoyed extensive travel in the United States and overseas.
In the late 80s she longed to work again and joined the staff of the public relations office at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center. Her pleasure in her work and her close association with her colleagues extended her stay there for 15 years. She was the editor of a written history of the University of Utah’s hospital, The Gift of Health Goes On: A History of the University of Utah Medical Center, published in 1990.
Mrs. Chachas was a devoted member of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church and its Philoptochos Society. In 2005, she volunteered to serve as associate editor of Faith and Fervor, a book chronicling the history of the Greek Orthodox community of Salt Lake City published on the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Holy Trinity Cathedral.
She is survived by her husband of 58 years, Gregory, and her children: Gregory Jr. (wife, Tammy) San Diego; George (wife Cheryl), San Diego; and John (wife, Diane) New York City. She was an enthusiastic game-playing and Greek-cooking Yiayia to her seven grandchildren: Gregory III, Elizabeth, Alexander and Victoria (San Diego) and Annie, Christopher and Jack (New York City) all of whom adored her.
She also is survived by her sister JoAnn Colin and nephew Sean and her brother Harry Pappasideris (wife, Maria) and nephew Jonathan, all of Salt Lake City.
A viewing will be held at 9:30 am on Saturday, January 16th followed immediately by a funeral service at 10:00 am at the Greek Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedral, 279 South 300 West in Salt Lake City. A memorial luncheon will follow at the Cathedral’s cultural hall.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed in her honor to the Hellenic Cultural Museum at Holy Trinity Cathedral or the University of Utah Medical Center Cancer Research Fund.