Greek Refugee Celebrates 100 Years of Life

On Aug. 2, surrounded by family and friends, Fay Cromas of Weston, formerly of Brooklyn, celebrated her 100th birthday.

“That’s no mean feat in today’s environment,” said Barbara Gross, one of Ms. Cromas’s friends.

“Yia Yia,” as she is affectionately known, is of Greek descent, and was raised in Asia Minor before it became part of Turkey. As a refugee, her parents brought her to Brooklyn in 1922, where she eventually met and married Basil Cromas — he was from Ms. Cromas’s hometown in Asia Minor, but they did not meet until she traveled to America.

Ms. Cromas is well known for her expertise as a cook (including the old world cuisine specialty of lamb’s brains), as a seamstress (she worked at Bergdorf Goodman creating one-of-a-kind evening dresses), and as a pastry chef in her husband’s restaurant.

Ms. Gross pointed out that in her lifetime, Ms. Cromas has literally come from donkey and cart, to the Model T, to the moon landing, to personal computers, to cell phones, to Twitter (not that she Twitters, said Ms. Gross).

For the 100th birthday celebration, grandchildren Fay and Michael Tritchonis put together a PowerPoint presentation of Ms. Cromas’s life – not a dry eye in the house, Ms. Gross reported.

Although Ms. Cromas has recently started to slow down a tad, her sense of humor is in full force and she continues to make herself breakfast every morning.

She has lived in Weston with her daughter Christine Tritchonis of Stonehenge Road since 2002.

“You and I can only hope to live such a full and eventful life as Yia Yia has, and come out as centenarians with such an ongoing zest for life,” Ms. Gross said.




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