Spiro Pete Cora
Spiro Pete Cora
  • January 7, 1935 - September 1, 2011
  • Jackson, Mississippi

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On 1 September 2011, Spiro Pete Cora, age 76, died peacefully at home from cancer. Spiro was born 7 January 1935 at 5 o'clock in the morning to Ourania (Nina) Pappaspiridon Cora and Panagiotis (Pete) Cora both originally of Skopelos, Greece, in Greenville, Mississippi. Spiro attended Greenville Public Schools through the 8th grade. In 1949 the family moved to Lexington MS and he graduated from Lexington High School in 1953. He gained first hand café experience helping his father at the Coney Island Café in Greenville and at the Welcome Inn Café in Lexington.

Spiro attended Millsaps College for 2 years, then worked with Peter J. Costas at the Shamrock Drive Inn in Jackson where he eventually became manager and a working partner in the business. There he met his future wife, Virginia Lee Brothers Cora, whom he married in 1961. He entered Mississippi College in Clinton and graduated in 1963 with a BA degree in history and secondary education. The Cora's moved to Collier County, Florida, where he taught social studies at Immokalee and lived in Naples until 1966 when they moved back to Jackson. Spiro taught US History at Enochs Junior High School until 1969 when he received his MA degree in US History from MC. He then taught social studies at Wingfield High School for 27 years, received a Specialist designation in History with 45 hours of Post-Master's degree work from USM, and became a leader in the Social Studies Department of Jackson Public Schools. He worked with pupils, fellow teachers, and administrators and lead extra curricular school activities (e.g., class sponsor, Follies, Close Up DC, et al) until his retirement in 1996. He was an active member and officer in the Mississippi Council for the Social Studies.

Spiro and Virginia Lee had three children with eleven grandchildren, Michael S. (Carrie Causbie) Cora of Kissimmee, Florida, with Nicholas, Andrew, and Anna; Catherine Ann (Jennifer Johnson) Cora of Santa Barbara, California, with Zoran, Caje, Thatcher, and Nash; and Christopher S. (Jennifer Harrell) Cora of Byram, Mississippi, with Morgan, Alexandria (Lexi), Paxton, and Hallie. Spiro was an active member of the Holy Trinity and St John Theologian Greek Orthodox Church and the AHEPA, and enjoyed boating, camping, eagle watching, and team sports. He was loved and admired by all who knew him for his kind and caring nature, especially by his adoring family, many friends, neighbors on Swan Lake, and the students and faculty at Wingfield.

Funeral services begin with visiting hours 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm with a Trisagion at 7:00 pm on Friday, 2 September, at Wright & Ferguson Downtown on High Street, the funeral at 10:00 am, preceded by visitation at 9:00 am on Saturday, 3 September, at the Holy Trinity St John Greek Orthodox Church at 5725 Pear Orchard Road, and burial at Cedar Lawn Cemetery on West Capitol Street, officiated by Father Andrew Koufopoulos and assisted by Father Paul Yerger of Holy Resurrection in Clinton. Honorary pall bearers are Constantine "Gus" Angelo for Jimmy Angelo, Gene Burnham, Peter J. Costas, Tommy Hontzas for Tony Tattis, Jim Johnson, Chuck Odom, Bill Patrick, Cousins Chris and George Provias, and Members of the MS Council for the Social Studies. Active pall bearers are Christo Burnham, Pete Cora, Henry "Hank" Holmes, Stamati Polles, Steve Charles West, and Constantine Zouboukos. The Cora family thanks Dr. Mark Meeks and the UMMC physicians, nurses, therapists, and staff for their superb and compassionate care throughout Spiro's illnesses. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations that be sent to the Spiro P. Cora Scholarship for Excellence in Social Studies, (MCSS, PO Box 3742, Jackson, MS 39207) to assist a student attend college for a career in education.