LACONIA — Lydia Ann Karagianis, a former English teacher and author, died peacefully on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, at The St. Francis Nursing Home, at the age of 96. She lived in Laconia for 58 years.
Lydia was born Dec. 21, 1920, in Alston, Massachusetts, daughter to the late Stratis and Paulina (Pandopolis) Kouroyen. She grew up in the Alston/Brighton area of Boston. Lydia graduated from The Girls Latin School of Boston and then went on to graduate from Harvard/Radcliffe College in 1943. She received her master's degree in English from The Teachers College of Massachusetts in 1944. Lydia began her teaching career in the Boston Public Schools in September 1944. In 1954 Lydia was awarded The Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching Excellence. Her teaching sabbatical within the Fulbright Program was to teach in Athens, Greece for a year, where she taught Greek high school students English writing skills. She returned to Boston to continue her teaching career until 1959.
Lydia married Peter S. Karagianis and moved to Laconia in June of 1959. Here in Laconia she began her 10-year-plus work on her book "Smoldering Smyrna." A documentation of her family's struggles in the Greek province of Smyrna (now Izmir) on the coast of Turkey. Her book chronicles her mother's life of persecution and ethnic cleansing by the Ottoman Turks and her fight to come to a better place, America, as a 16-year-old young lady. The title "Smoldering Smyrna" depicts how the traumas of ethnic cleansing tends to go through cycles throughout history, flaring up at times and then cooling off, "Smoldering," but the ethnic cleansing never seems to completely stop. A very applicable book in these turbulent times around the globe today.
While in Laconia, Lydia made quiet and countless contributions to community life. In the '60s and '70s she taught in the Laconia public schools. She was a member and president of the Ladies Philoptohos Society at the Taxiarchai Greek Orthodox Church of Laconia for over 40 years. She was a member of the Radcliffe Club of New Hampshire, The Laconia Women's Club, and the Belknap Mill Society.
What she loved most was to go out to dinner or breakfast with her three grandchildren, Nicole, Evan and Christian, and her son, Peter, and his wife, Jane.
Lydia is survived by her loving son, S. Peter Karagianis and his wife, Jane Karagianis, of Gilford; three grandchildren, Nicole, Evan and Christian Karagianis, all of Gilford (grandchildren now living in Boston). Lydia has a living sister ,Antoinette, who is 107 years old and living in Bethesda Maryland. In addition to her parents, she is predeceased by her three brothers, Alexander, Socrates and Kimeon Kouroyen, and her husband, Peter S. Karagianis.
Calling hours will be held on Sunday, Dec. 10, from 2-4 p.m. at the Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home, 164 Pleasant St., Laconia, using the Carriage House entrance .
A funeral service will be celebrated on Monday, Dec.11, at 10 a.m. at Taxiarchai Greek Orthodox Church, 811 N. Main St., Laconia. Burial will follow in the family lot at Union Cemetery, Academy Street, Laconia.
Flowers or a memorial donation be made in Lydia's memory to: Taxiarchai Greek Orthodox Church, 811 N. Main St., Laconia, NH 03246.
Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 164 Pleasant St., Laconia, is assisting the family with the arrangements. For more information and to view an online memorial, go to www.wilkinsonbeane.com.