The American Hellenic Education Progressive Association (AHEPA) mourns the passing of its past Supreme President Gus J. James from Norfolk, Virginia on January 1, at the age of 79.
James served in every elected District 3 and chapter office before becoming active on the national level as a Board of Trustees and Supreme Lodge officer. He served two terms as Supreme President (2005-2007), and also served in other national offices, including Supreme Counselor and as member of the Board of Trustees.
As Supreme President, James embarked on a strategy to secure Greece’s inclusion into the United States’ Visa Waiver program, which became a reality in 2010. In addition, under James’ administration, what would become the annual AHEPA Capitol Hill Day first took form in conjunction with the 2006 AHEPA Congressional Banquet.
During his two-year administration, AHEPA awarded approximately $200,000 for scholarships and the promotion of education. James was an advocate for Hellenic issues and travelled the country spreading the good work AHEPA achieves in the community.
He was born Kostas Yiangou Yiassemis on Cyprus in 1938. With his family, he moved to the United States when he was seven years old. James graduated from William and Mary School of Law in 1966.
He rose through the ranks at the law firm of Kaufman & Canoles eventually becoming Managing Partner, President and Chairman of the Board, before he retired. Very active in his community at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Norfolk, James served as president of the community for eight different terms.
James is survived by his wife, the former Helen N. Alexion, and two daughters, Mary-Margaret and Nicole, a son-in-law, George Phillips, and a grandson.
The funeral will take place Saturday, January 6, at 1PM at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral 7220 Granby Street in Norfolk, VA.