Dimitrios Mataras was born in Greece, on July 28, 1933, and died peacefully at his home in Pleasanton on Dec. 29, 2020.
Like many Greeks of his generation, the tragedies of World War II and the Greek Civil War caused Dimitri to immigrate to Northern Europe at the beginning of adulthood to search for work and a better life. Soon after arriving in the Netherlands at the age of 22, he found a job working in the engine room on an oil tanker bound for the San Francisco Bay Area. On arriving outside of the Golden Gate Bridge, the oil tanker crashed and left Dimitri stranded in intensive care for three months. What seemed to be yet another stroke of bad luck at the time, was in reality, the beginning of Dimitri’s American dream.
After being released from the hospital, he found a part-time job working as a dishwasher in a restaurant while studying English as a second language at the City College of San Francisco. During that time, he met his future wife, Jeanette Fornaciari, at a popular dance club in the city.
After marrying in Jeanette’s hometown of Livermore, they lived throughout the San Francisco Bay Area before settling in Pleasanton in 1987. With the help of his wife and in-laws, Dimitri became a successful small businessman. He opened and managed four restaurants and delicatessens, in addition to working tirelessly as a real estate agent and property manager up until four months before his passing.
For over 40 years, he was a dedicated member and volunteer of the Lion’s Club in Fremont and at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Resurrection in Castro Valley. In his spare time, he enjoyed cutting out insightful articles from the newspaper for his children and grandchildren, in addition to gardening, cooking, and woodworking.
A private burial was held at St. Michael’s Cemetery in Livermore on Jan. 5, 2021. He is survived by his wife, Jeanette; two daughters, Natalie Mataras-Pirounakis and Sandra Stefani; three grandchildren, Marco Stefani, Vincent Stefani, and Anthony Pirounakis; two great-grandchildren, Luca Stefani and Noelle Stefani; and his siblings and their families, Alexandra Narayan, Marika Tsardoulias, Irene Firos, and Paul Mataras.
May his memory be eternal!