June 14, 1917-July
Published in the Los
Angeles Times from August 1 to August 2, 2012
Born in Waukegan, Illinois
to Christ and Paraskevy Conteas and brother to Barbara, Nicholas assumed
head of family responsibilities at 16 with the passing of his Father.
He supported his Mother and Sister and in 1936 he attended Northwestern
University assisted by scholarships in football and baseball, where he
completed his degree in Education.
He was proud to have played on the only Northwestern Baseball Team that
won the "Big Ten" Championship in 1940. He played minor league
professional baseball for the Chicago Cubs after graduation.
In 1941 he enlisted in the US Navy and entered Naval Intelligence School,
tours of duty included, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and China. After
the war he returned home to begin a career in business, here he was to
meet his future wife, Evanthia B. Lambros; they married on July 4, 1948.
After the birth of his son, Chris Nicholas, the family moved to California
where he founded California Auto Transport Corp.; his second child Cynthia
Jeanne was born. His next business challenge was the purchase of VMP Corp,
assuming the title of president for many years.
After an early retirement he grew restless for yet another challenge,
in 1974 he accepted the position of Commercial Attache representing the
Government of Greece. In 1992 his only grandchild, Nicholas Christopher
was born, son of daughter Cynthia and son-in-law Grant Wood.
Nicholas is remembered as a loyal, honest, generous man who saw wrong
and tried to right it, loved his country and his family intensely. Married
to Evanthia for 64 years he often said, "Marrying my wife was the
best thing I ever did." They completed each other.
He had friends of all ages from all walks of life. He was filled with
wonderful stories from his bountiful life that everyone loved to hear;
whether it be WWII adventures including crossing paths with the likes
of Lord Mountbatten, King Farouk of Egypt, King George of Greece, King
Peter of Yugoslavia or Generals, Marshal, Chenault or MacArthur. Or perhaps
stories of the day he met Babe Ruth who came to see an exhibition game
he played in, Nicholas seeing him sitting in the dugout alone approached
and asked if he could buy him a hotdog, he accepted and a magic moment
was sealed forever.
A generous man to his family he also gave back to the community, he was
a member of the Guardians and the Al Malaika philanthropic organizations.
He was one of the original members of the Matador Booster Club for California
State University at Northridge when it was known as San Fernando Valley
In the early sixties he helped organize the creation of the St. Sophia
Greek Orthodox Summer Camp for youth along with Murray Mesec the camps
first Director, a fraternity brother from Northwestern. He also played
a pivotal role in helping secure the property that St. Nicholas Greek
Orthodox Church in Northridge was was built on. He did these things and
many more quietly and without fanfare.
The community, his friends and family will miss him very much.
We will keep you in our hearts forever. God keep you, rest well.
Prayer Service to be held on Thursday August 2 at 7 PM Forest Lawn Hollywood
Hills, Church of the Hills. Funeral will be held Friday August 3rd at
11 AM at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Northridge, interment following
at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.