Michael Anthony Tzouanakis

May 3, 1927December 4, 2020
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Michael “Mike” Anthony Tzouanakis passed away Friday, December 4, 2020. Michael was born on May 3, 1927 in Greencastle, Indiana. He was the son of John and Virginia (Reynolds) Tzouanakis. He was a 1945 graduate of Greencastle High School. He enlisted in the Army on July 6, 1945 and was discharged on December 31, 1946.

He married Suzanne Rowland on June 15, 1952.

He graduated from Indiana State University where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Education in 1951 and his Master of Science Degree in 1955.

He began his teaching career at Jones Elementary School. He was a fifth grade teacher for five years. He then served as Principal for eight years. In 1964, he then became the first Principal of Northeast Elementary School and retired from there in 1991. He was very humbled to have the school renamed in his honor.

He spent countless hours involved in activities that concerned children: coaching girls and boys in multiple sports, summer recreation programs at school and in the community. His goal was always to have children that he worked with be the best they could be.

He was a member of St. Paul’s Catholic Church where he served on various committees and served as a Eucharistic Minister for 43 years. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus. He was also a member of the Indiana Elementary Principal’s Association, National Association of Elementary School Principals, Kiwanis Club, American Legion, Greencastle Retired Teacher’s Association, and the Oldtimer’s Club.

Along with his love for education, He served as a Safety Patrolman at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway beginning in 1950 and served in that capacity until he began working during the summers for Patrick Racing in early 80”s. The team was sold to Bobby Rahal in 1991. He continued working for Rahal, Letterman, Lanigan Racing until 2017.

He was preceded in death by his father, mother, wife, and sisters: Helen Flint, Irene Brant, and Mary Huntington.

He is survived by his sons; Michael Tzouanakis II of Greencastle and John (Lisa) Tzouanakis of Wauconda, Illinois; a daughter, Stephanie (Scott) Gardner of Scottsburg, Indiana; grandchildren Lindsay (Zac) Reece of Lousiville, KY, Will Gardner of Memphis, Indiana, Bailey (Tzouanakis) Szubinski, and Taylor Tzouanakis both of Wauconda, IL: great grandchildren: Brody and Berkeley Szubinski of Wauconda, IL.; sister, Josephine Meredith of Fairfield, Ohio.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church with interment to follow at Forest Hill Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Tuesday, December 15th at the Bittles and Hurt Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers memorials contributions may be made in his memory to: Tools for School, P.O. Box 251, Greencastle, IN 46135; Greencastle Food Corp., c/o Food Service, 1002 Mill Pond Land, Greencastle, IN 46135, Society of St. Vincent DePaul, St. Paul’s Catholic Church, 202 E. Washington St., Greencastle, IN 46135; Putnam County Emergency Food Pantry, 600 Tennessee St., Greencastle, IN 46135

He loved his community and all those he served. He gave his time and talent and didn’t ask for anything in return.

“My love and thoughts will always be with every child who I have had the opportunity to work with because they have been my inspiration. All of these children have kept me young at heart, mind and body. They have given me a great deal more than I have given them.”

Condolences and memories may be shared with the family c/o www.Bittlesand


  • Tools for School
  • Greencastle Food Corp
  • Society of St. Vincent DePaul
  • Putnam County Emergency Food Pantry


  • Visitation

    Tuesday, December 15, 2020

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020



Michael Anthony Tzouanakis

have a memory or condolence to add?

Judith George

January 19, 2021

I doubt that Mike Tzounanakis ever knew my name but I observed him as one of the finest men in our community. He was a wonderful educator who cared deeply about each of our children. He was a practicing Christian in "deed." He also emulated patriotism to our children . HIS WAS A LIFE WELL LIVED!

Joan(ie) Deer Bryant

January 2, 2021

Many thanks to the family for sharing your photographs, and my sincere condolences for your loss.

I began kindergarten at Northeast in 1966 and have countless fond memories of Mr. Tzouanakis as our amazing principal. His genuine caring for children could be seen in all his actions, from making the announcements for "boys and girls" to come to the "multi-purpose room" for a fun activity, to leading Little Olympics, to everyday interactions in school. I remember one day I could not zip up my windbreaker for recess, and he helped me. Later in the year, I sadly misplaced the windbreaker during Little Olympics. Much to my surprise, he walked up to me, smiling, windbreaker in hand!

My favorite memory may be of one of the times Mr. Tzouanakis visited our 4th-grade classroom. He wrote the word "Love" on the chalkboard and turned around to giggling children. He then facilitated a transformative discussion of the many forms that love may take, including love for God, country, family, and friends.

Mr. Tzouanakis was truly one of a kind. I am grateful to him for fostering a love of learning and for being a wonderful role model. He had a profound effect on the lives of so many and will be dearly missed.

Theresa Dowling

December 24, 2020

In September of 1951 I entered 5th grade at the Mary Emma Jones School and discovered that my new teacher was a man! With an unpronounceable name! I fell in love for the first time.

Last week I thought of Mr. TZ for the first time in years and googled his name only to discover he had recently died! Obviously the Holy Spirit had come to tell me. I so loved reading about his many years of service to his Church and community. May he be a shining name in Paradise for all who were touched by his dedication.
Theresa Alig Dowling

Keith Brackney

December 22, 2020

Stephanie, Mike and John,
We are so sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. He was an example we all looked up to and were blessed to have known. I have great memories of him beginning as my Principle, then all through the years coming in the store. I was pleased to see the joy he had anytime we’d ask about all of you. (Also talking racing, in that order) Not many people have had the impact he had on so many people young & old alike. I hate we missed the viewing. We had a positive Covid case within our office, so thought it best to not risk unknowingly carrying it there. You’ve all been & continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.
Keith Brackney

Jillian Duffy

December 15, 2020

This world is small and I have come across people in my travels that know our family because of the legacy my great uncle Mike built. I always enjoyed his stories, and the stories I hear about him. What a beautiful life he lived with his hilarious wife Suzie. Rest In Peace

Jeff Pierce

December 15, 2020

Your father was one of the finest men I have ever had the pleasure to know. My earliest memories of your Dad at Northeast Elementary School, now very appropriately named after him, were of a very professional, kind, caring leader. He was someone that I immediately respected not out of fear or intimidation but out of a personal concern that I would never let him down through my behavior.
The amount of time he devoted to the youth of Greencastle cannot be measured. His time first as a teacher, a principle, a coach, an umpire, a director, a mentor, and in innumerable other ways may never be replicated in this community.
When I think back on all he contributed I do not know how he found the time to impact so many young people in such a positive way. I am so thankful that he did.
Thank you so much for sharing your Dad with so many of us. I am forever grateful for the influence your father had on my life.
God bless you and my prayers are with you,

Jeff Pierce

Jane Rogers

December 14, 2020

Uncle Mike was one of a kind. A wonderful man in every way possible. He always made my husband feel special at the family reunions with new hats and t-shirts. We always loved visiting his home and watching old family movies . He will be totally missed. Love you all,
Jane, Randy and family

Marie Daynes Burt

December 14, 2020

Mr. T was my principal for six years when I was at Northeast. He knew each child and made us all feel special. He was especially great with my older brother, Austen, who struggled with seizures and other issues. Mr. T always made time to talk to him, and Austen talks about him fondly to this day.

One year, Tzouanakis was one of of our spelling words, and if we got it right, we got to sit in his office for a personal congratulations. :) And we loved the privilege of sitting in the STP car that sat in the library!

Mr. T was an inspirational educator who has influenced me both as his student and as a teacher trying to love my own students! He touched so many lives in such a positive way!

Judy Brant

December 14, 2020

To Mikie, Steph, and Johnny:
I am so sorry for your loss. Jeff and I grew up with you and Aunt Suzie and Uncle Mike. He was our principal thru out our elementary school time. That was a mixed blessing, as we got our favorite teachers but he always knew what mischief we were into. He would always stop by our house on his way home from NE in his VW bug and eat a banana and read the paper, many times not even conversing! We loved the “country” house, learning to “drive” in midget race cars. And all the TZ reunions on Jackson. We missed you so much when we moved to Cincy, although Jeff and Mikie still managed to get into trouble at grandmas and making long distance calls! We love you guys.
Your cuz,

Ruth Schroeder

December 13, 2020

Mr. Tzouanakis.....what a great man you are! Your death will bring much sadness to your family, your church, and your friends . You will be missed, and it is hard to imagine not seeing you at mass at St. Paul’s. Anyone who knows you will long remember your endless giving, your selflessness, and your wonderful smile. Grief is heavy on the hearts of your family and friends today, but I hope they all remember what a treasure you were to each of us! God Speed Mr. Tzouanakis!