Shrewsbury - Paul C. Kiritsy passed away peacefully on Tuesday May 3rd surrounded by his loving family. Paul, who celebrated his 91st birthday on March 11th, was known by many nicknames; Pappou Shark, Chief, Pokie, PK, but he was called "Tiger" by those who worked with him at "Mosaic Fabrications-later Galileo Electro-optics", the company he co-founded. He is cherished by all who knew him for his passion, authentic charm and unbreakable optimism. His personality exemplified the adage "the glass is half full".
Born in Worcester MA, son of Charles and Anna (Souliotis) Kiritsy and a graduate of the former Classical High School, Paul enlisted in the Navy at the start of World War II. Serving in the South Pacific as a pharmacist mate, he was stationed in the field hospital on the Island of Okinawa. Paul also played the trumpet and was appointed to play reveille every morning, which he said offered the fringe benefit of getting to the chow line first for breakfast! In 1945, he began his studies at American International College, in Springfield, MA under the GI bill. Then, in 1947 while traveling in Greece, Paul met Mary Economou at a family gathering. Atop majestic Mount Lykavittos, overlooking Athens, with the glowing sunset resting on the ancient city, they fell in love. They were married on June 10, 1951.
Upon receiving his degree in psychology, Paul worked for American Optical in Southbridge MA. While at AO, he discovered his second love, the new technology known as fiber optics. Tiger's insatiable drive and entrepreneurial spirit motivated the department head/inventor, Will Hicks, to leave AO, and in 1956 they founded Mosaics Fabrications out of a garage. As the leading independent fiber optics company they developed multiple fiber optic components and became the world's largest producer of "night vision" goggles. While building the highly successful Mosaics with his team, Paul co-authored industry articles and contributed to several patents, characterizing the making of fiber as "an art, not science", he would say, that "…when the glass cladded rod, was slowly lowered into a glowing furnace and a hair thin fiber strand would be pulled, often slightly burning the finger tips, … the touch is the key!" Mosaic's was purchased by Bendix Corp, division of Honeywell, in 1967.
Paul was also a "radio" pioneer who hosted a Sunday morning "Greek News and Music Hour" on WESO. Although some would say his artful "American Greek" translation was both humorous and entertaining, his soft sultry voice was perfect for radio and won him a wide audience from surrounding communities. In addition to Mosaics, Paul owned/operated several other businesses, including The Old Grist Mill Complex in Seekonk, MA and FAB-Coil Company, and was an early real-estate developer in Sturbridge, MA. A serial entrepreneur, Paul returned to his passion for fiber optics to rejoin his partner, Will Hicks at 1984, Inc., where they developed several new fiber optic technologies, including Wave Division Multiplexing. In 1986, the company was purchased by Polaroid Corporation.
Paul was also a long time steward of Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral and an honorary member of the World War II Veterans. Among his hobbies, he had an incredible green thumb and so enjoyed the miracle of taking a seed from any fruit and planting it and watching life grow. Avocados were his favorite challenge! With all his talents, Paul's greatest gifts were his ability to inspire others through his charm, warm heart, and his optimistic nature. His greatest joy was his family -the love of his life and best friend, Mary, his five children, and his 12 grandchildren. He felt blessed to have them gathered, sitting on the green wicker chair, in the cedar porch, listening to Adagio by Secret Garden, while the sun set through the Cape Cod pines. PK, although your tiger's roar only now echo's in the hills of our memories, your powerful spirit flows full in our hearts. We will hear your voice in the music you loved and see your eyes smiling in the sunsets on Ryders Cove. We love you so very much.
In heaven Paul is reunited with his daughter, Helen Kiritsy who died December 9, 1973. It is a joyful and long awaited reunion.
In addition to his wife, Mary, of nearly 65 years, he leaves three sons and one daughter; Charles P. Kiritsy and his wife, Christine, of Paxton, Anna Kiritsy Tsitsilianos and her husband, Emmanuel, of Worcester, William P. Kiritsy and his wife, Sylvia, of Boylston, and Christopher P. Kiritsy and his wife, Molly, of Newton; 12 grandchildren; Paul, Zachary and Michael Kiritsy, Andrew and Nicholas Tsitsilianos, Helena, Zoe and Joshua Kiritsy, and Alexander, Hannah, Benjamin and Elias Kiritsy; also survived by nieces & nephews.
On behalf of Paul, we would like to thank the caring and compassionate nursing staffs and aides at the Jewish Healthcare Center, Holy Trinity Healthcare Center, South 2 at St. Vincent Hospital and at South 6 at UMASS/Memorial Hospital.
Family and friends will honor and celebrate Paul's life by gathering for calling hours at Heald & Chiampa Funeral Directors – The Sumner House, 5 Church Road, On the Common, Shrewsbury, on Friday, May 6th from 4 to 8 pm. A Trisagion Service will be held at 4:15 pm at the funeral home. The funeral will be Saturday, May 7th at Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral 102 Russell Street, Worcester MA at 11:00 am. Rev. Dr. Dimitrios Moraitis will officiate. Burial with military honors will follow at Hope Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral Family Center, 102 Russell Street, Worcester MA.