August 12, 1925 – June 3, 2019
KASIANI PARA OBITUARY
Kasiani Para, 94, of Portland ME died June 3rd 2019. “Kasi”, the daughter of Elias and Marigo (Economou) Shamos, passed away after a brief illness. She is survived by her sister, Panorea (Rhea) Williams, her daughter Katerina Dede, her son, James Para and his wife, Flora, her grandchildren Vilma Ademi, Redi Dede, Mina Para, and Christa Para, and four great grandchildren. Her husband of 59 years, Mina Para, and her brother Stavros Shamos predeceased her.
Kasiani Para was born in Politsiani, Northern Epirus Greece. Following the invasion of this region by Nazi Germany, Politsiani became part of the Communist Albanian protectorate. Many in her village, including her husband Mina Para, formed resistance groups. Intense fighting ensued as the Communists began an ethnic cleansing of Greeks. Villages were burned, homes and churches were destroyed, 2000 Northern Epirotes were killed, and more than 5000 were imprisoned including Kasiani’s husband.
When the war ended, Politsiani, now a part of Communist Albania was closed off from the rest of the world. Kasi’s mother, sister and Mina’s brother Anastasios Para escaped by evading border guards and walking through the snow-covered mountains with just the clothes on their back. They later joined Kasi’s father Elias who had come to Maine before the war. Kasi stayed behind to care for her young daughter and her imprisoned husband.
In his memoir, THIRTY-SIX YEARS IN THE GALLEYS OF THE DICTATORSHIP OF ENVER HOXHA, Mina writes: “In December 1948 my wife Kasiani came to visit me. I had not seen her since the day they arrested me in June 1945. After this visit, a very long time passed until I saw her again.”
During the time of Mina’s imprisonment, almost 40 years, Kasiani was held in a labor camp where she endured a hard life of injuries and illnesses. Her ability to survive this suffering was a testament to her strength and courage. When the Iron Curtain fell in 1991 Mina was released from prison and he and Kasi were reunited and eventually joined their family in Maine.
Kasi rebuilt her life in Portland, watching her grandchildren grow and succeed. She was a member of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church and enjoyed gardening and cooking. She remained a pillar of strength for her family and will be greatly missed.
Friends are invited to attend a time of visitation on Thursday, June 6, 2019, from 6-8 p.m., at Jones, Rich & Barnes Funeral Home with a Trisagion Service at 7pm. A funeral service will be held on Friday, June 7, 2019, at 11 a.m., at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 133 Pleasant Street, Portland. A committal will immediately follow at Forest City Cemetery.
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Jones, Rich & Barnes Funeral Home, 199 Woodford St., Portland, Maine, 04103. 775-3763.
Donations can be made to the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church or The Politsiani Society, in memory of Kasiani Para.
You may offer your condolences at www.jonesrichandbarnes.com
- Elias Shamos, Father
- Marigo Shamos, Mother
- Mina Para, Husband
- Katerina Dede, Daughter
- James Para, Son
- Flora Para, Daughter-in-law
- Vilma Ademi, Grandchild
- Redi Dede, Grandchild
- Mina Para, Grandchild
- Christa Para, Grandchild
- Panorea Williams, Sister
- Rhea Williams, Brother-in-law
- Stavros Shamos, Brother
- Also survived by 4 great grandchildren
- Visiting Hours Thursday, June 6, 2019
- Trisagion Service Thursday, June 6, 2019
- Funeral Service Friday, June 7, 2019