Gregory John Chachas Dies at 86

Gregory John Chachas was born July 5, l932 in Steamboat Springs, CO to Evelyn Tsimopoulos Chachas and John Chachas, both immigrants from Greece.  He attended elementary school in Ely Nevada, where the family had made its home since 1926. Gregory attended high school at Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant, Utah but graduated from White Pine High School in 1948, returning to Ely for the final semester his senior year upon the unexpected death of his elder sister, Bessie.  He was deemed an exceptionally bright student and through the support of Wasatch Academy, he applied and was accepted to Harvard University. 

He was affiliated there with Dunster House and a member of Harvard’s tennis team.  While he entered in the Harvard class of 1953, his college years were interrupted by two breaks, first to work on the family’s cattle ranch and then the Korean conflict. After a year at Harvard, he took a leave and returned to the Cleveland Ranch for two years. During his years of solitude on the ranch he taught himself Morse code, and upon being drafted the U.S. military deployed him as a high-speed radio operator in Manheim, Germany rather than the Korean peninsula. Upon completion of his military tour he was discharged and returned to Harvard and completed his baccalaureate degree in Economics. Upon graduation he returned to the west and subsequently attended the University of Utah College of Law, where he earned his juris doctorate degree.

He married Mary Pappasideris in 1958, who at the time was the Women’s Section editor of The Salt Lake Tribune. The couple moved to Ely in 1960 where Mr. Chachas established a law practice.  Along with his father and brother, Ted, they owned and operated several successful local businesses including the Junction Motor Service Company, the first GM dealership established in Northern Nevada; the Hilltop Motel and Hilltop Drug; and the Cleveland Ranch, a large and historic Nevada cattle ranch in Spring Valley. He and his brother were instrumental in developing numerous family assets such as a shopping center featuring a Safeway Supermarket and other stores for the Ely community.

In his professional career he practiced law in Ely and also served as the Ely City Attorney. He later served as District Attorney for Eureka County, Nevada, and District Attorney for White Pine County, as well.  Later in his life he developed a passion for mineral exploration and development and accumulated a series of mining properties in Nevada and Idaho. Since the mid-1990s, he concentrated on his investments in water and mining properties.

Gregory preferred the open spaces and drove hundreds of thousands of miles in the American west. He was an avid swimmer, tennis player, skier and hunter. He preferred the expansive vistas of Nevada and maintained a home in Ely until his death. He liked nothing more than walking with his beloved wife of 58 years, Mary, who died in January 2016. He is survived by his three sons: Gregory (wife Tammy) of San Diego; George (wife Cheryl) of San Diego and Park City; and John (wife Diane) of New York City.  He loved playing chess and telling one-line jokes to his seven grandchildren: Gregory III, Elizabeth, Alexander, Victoria, Anne, Christopher, and Jack. He also is survived by one brother, James, but was preceded in death by his sister, Bessie, and two brothers Theodore (Ted) and Basil. 

A memorial service will be held at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Salt Lake followed by a private service at Mount Olivet Cemetery. A Celebration of Life reception will be held at the Alta Club (100 E. South Temple) on Saturday, May 4th at 12:30 pm to which all friends are welcome.