James Argyris Nicolaou

June 7, 1928May 6, 2021

James (Jim) Argyris Nicolaou, was born on June 7, 1928 in Keene, NH to Argyrios and Helene (Tsalis) Nicolaou and peacefully passed away on May 6, 2021 in Fresno, CA after a long, well-fought battle with Alzheimer’s.

His parents left their home on the island of Evia in Greece and immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island in the 1920s. They settled in Clinton, Massachusetts where Jim and his three siblings were raised. He graduated from Clinton High School in 1947 and began a career in the grocery store business as a young man. He enlisted in the US Army and served as a tank driver and commander during the Korean War.

In 1950, just before being deployed overseas, Jim met his future wife, Sophia Chiames, while she was visiting relatives in Clinton, MA. Their long-distance relationship blossomed over the following years and in 1952, while he was stationed in Germany serving as part of the Allied occupation forces after WWII, he decided to propose to her. Determined to get a ring on her finger, but unable to leave base in Germany, he sent her engagement ring via the trusty United States Postal Service. For decades to follow, James and Sophia would find themselves joking about how the mailman delivered her engagement ring!

They married on Oct. 2, 1954 in Fresno, CA where they lived throughout their lives, celebrating 65 wonderful years of marriage. They were blessed with two children, Gary, born in 1958 and Gina, born in 1962. James and Sophia raised their family in the Greek Orthodox faith and were members of St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Fresno. Their faith and Greek culture were the foundation of their family and played an integral part in each of their lives.

Jim worked in the grocery business for over 40 years where he was known as “Jimmy the Greek” throughout his career. He started as a clerk and worked his way up to store manager for Food Banks, later known as Foodland Markets, until his retirement. He then became a grocery sales rep for a few companies, including Ketl Marketing, until he fully retired. He was honored with many sales awards throughout his second career.

Jim was very involved in a number of organizations in his church and Greek community. Some of which included the parish council, the church choir, and the Order of AHEPA, where he served in various positions, his favorite, of course, was being “Mr. Bingo”. He served as treasurer of the Fresno Greek Fest and St. George Sunday School for over 30 years. He was named St. George’s Father of the Year in 1989, the day after his daughter’s wedding.

Jim loved traveling and learning about other countries, he had an extensive collection of stamps from all over the world that he prided himself on. Some of his favorite trips were family visits in Utah, Massachusetts, and California, an Alaskan cruise with his wife, and numerous other special family vacations all across California.

In 1991, James became a Papou, his favorite title yet. His three grandchildren, Zachary, Nicholas (Niko), and Melina, were his pride and joy. He would do anything and everything for them. He was a blessing to them and they to him.

Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Sophia E. Nicolaou, parents Argyrios and Helene Nicolaou, siblings Theodore Nicolaou, Chrysoula Nicolaou, Eva Detsikas, brother-in-law Paul Chiames, and nieces, Terese Caire, Christine Detsikas, and Elaine Thompson.

He is survived by his son Gary and wife Vicki of Phoenix, AZ, daughter Gina and husband Rick of Fresno CA, grandchildren Zachary Kazanjian of Los Angeles CA, Niko Kazanjian of New York NY, and Melina Kazanjian of Fresno CA. Other relatives include sister-in-law, Anita Chiames, nephews Chris Detsikas, John Nicolaou, Chris Chiames, and Paul Chiames, niece Marianne Lukenda, Goddaughter Denise Stringer Topliff, and many other beloved relatives and friends. He was blessed to live a happy, long, and full life. He will be so deeply missed.

His family would like to thank his former caregiver Jackie Cochrane and the staff at the Veteran’s Home of California, Fresno, where he resided the past 5 years for their loving care.

Visitation will be held on Wednesday, May 12th from 4:00 - 6:00 PM, followed by a Trisagion service at 6:00 at Whitehurst Funeral Home located at 836 E. Nees Ave., Fresno, CA 93720 (new location).

The funeral service will be held on Thursday, May 13th at 10:30 AM at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 2219 N. Orchard St, Fresno, CA 93702. The service will be followed by a memorial luncheon on the church patio. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, capacity may be limited. Safety guidelines are to be followed. For those who wish to participate virtually, the service will be livestreamed at

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made in the name of James Nicolaou to the Saint George Greek Orthodox Church Memorial Fund.


  • Visitation

    Wednesday, May 12, 2021

  • Trisagion Service

    Wednesday, May 12, 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Thursday, May 13, 2021


James Argyris Nicolaou

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Frank Siskey

May 10, 2021

I will miss you Jim. We have great memories working together at Foodland, and some "fun" arguments. No one working there understood the "Greeks and the Polacks" way of discussing things. Makes me smile thinking about those times. And working the booths next to you and Sophie at the festival were great. Love you my friend. My heart and prayers go out to you, Gina and Gary. You had fantastic parents. Frank