Despina C. Yalanis, of Bristol, passed away in the Lord on Thursday (January 30, 2020). She was born on September 27, 1942, to the late Costas and Helen (Sangeloty) Yalanis, the original owners for over 60 years of the Crystal Luncheonette Restaurant, located first on North Main St., then moved to the corner of North Main and Center St. She was predeceased by her brother, Thomas C. Yalanis.
Having lived almost her entire life in Bristol, she was a member of the First Graduating class of Bristol Eastern High School, in 1960. She attended Ithaca College and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, in Music Education, before switching to Voice and Opera at the Hartt College of Music, University of Hartford. She had the opportunity to compete in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in 1972, and enjoyed performing in Florida, New York, and Hawaii, among other places. Very active in the community, she had performed several times in the “OM Shows”, was the guest artist for the grand reopening of the former Carberry Theater on Prospect St., was a member of the Bristol Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of both Michael Masaillo, the Symphony’s founder, and her brother, Thomas Yalanis. She was a member of its Board of Director’s for 12 years.
She served as Choir Director at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in New Britain, St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Hartford, Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Wethersfield, orchestrating all the music for its 100th Anniversary, St. Anthony Church, Bristol, and St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Bristol. She was a recipient of the “St. Romanos the Melodist: Patron Saint of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians” medal, for serving as choir director, cantor, soloist, organist, teacher, and music arranger for the Orthodox churches she served. She was a Past President and a longtime member of the Ladies Philoptochos Society in both New Britain and Bristol, CT, where she served on the Executive Boards. She was also a former member of the Daughter’s of Penelope.
She is survived by her sister, Pana Y. Mastros, and brother-in-law, Dr. Paul Mastros, of Steubenville, Ohio, and her brother, Peter C. Yalanis, of Newport, Rhode Island. She is also survived by her beloved nephews and nieces, Dr. Nicholas P. Mastros (Angela), Atty. Costa D. Mastros (Michele) , Maria M. Matzorkis (Gregory) of Steubenville, Ohio, and Presvytera Eleni M. Kallaur (Rev. Michael Kallaur) of Carnegie, PA, along with eight great nieces and nephews. Nephews and nieces in Rhode Island include Christopher P. Yalanis (Laura), Gregory P. Yalanis (Ryan), Nichol Y. Robinson (Forest Handford), six great-nieces and nephews, Mohini I. Yalanis, her sister-in-law, Melanie H. Yalanis (Thomas), and nephew, Dean Thomas Yalanis and niece, Eleni Yalanis.
Calling hours will be held on Wednesday between 5 and 7 PM at Funk Funeral Home with a “Trisagion Service” to be conducted at 6 PM. Funeral services will be held on Thursday (February 6, 2020) at 11 AM at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church 31 Brightwood Road, Bristol. Burial will follow in West Cemetery, Bristol. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 31 Brightwood Rd., Bristol, CT 06010. Please visit Despina’s memorial web-site at www.FunkFuneralHome.com.
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