Chris Solon, 85, a Greek man of steadfast faith, humility, love, and compassion, passed into Eternal Life on July 23rd, 2018. Chris died with dignity from Stage 4 Metastatic Prostate Cancer at Bayshore Rehabilitation and Residence in Duluth, MN. He transitioned peacefully from his daughter's loving arms to be reunited after 28 years apart, to his beloved wife Fran's embrace.
Chris was born at St. Mary's Hospital in Duluth, MN to his Greek immigrant parents on July 28, 1932. The original family name was Eliopoulos, but it was required at Ellis Island to be changed to a more "American name." The name 'Solon' was chosen after an ancient Greek lawmaker. Chris was baptized into the Greek Orthodox Faith at Twelve Holy Apostles Church in Duluth, MN on January 28, 1933.
Growing up during the Great Depression, Chris started selling newspapers at 11-years-old with his brothers down at the "Bowery" to help support their poor family. Chris grew up in the Central Hillside part of Duluth that was known as "Little Italy." They were the only Greek family in this neighborhood. He attended Jackson Elementary School (1938-1945), Washington Jr. High School (1946-1948) and graduated from Historic Central High School in 1951. Years later, he joined "The Lake Avenue Loafers" to celebrate the bond with those who were raised during this unique era.
From 1952 to 1954, he served in the United States Army in California and Germany during the Korean War. It was being taught fluent Greek by their father, that prevented him and his brother Sam from having to fight in Korea. Both were sent to Germany instead as Greek translators. Chris knew of soldiers in his platoon that didn't make it. "My Greek saved me!"
From 1954-1955, Chris attended UMD and the Duluth Business University. He was employed by the DM&IR Railway Company from 1955-1992. He retired at 37 years as a Supervisor of Benefits Administration.
In an iconic 1960's wedding, Chris married a lovely Greek woman named Frances Farmakes on September 22, 1963 at Twelve Holy Apostles in Duluth, MN. Born on September 7, 1970, the two raised their only child, Kristina Marie Solon, up until Fran's untimely passing at 51 years of age from Metastatic Liposarcoma on July 10, 1990.
Chris was a devoted lifelong member of Twelve Holy Apostles. He served for 30 years on the Parish Council and for 60 years as a Choir Member. He devoted his time to the Stewardship Committee and as a much-loved Greeter for the Taste of Greece Festivals. Chris also cherished his Hellenic upbringing and was a 50+ Life Member of the Senator Sam G. Solon Duluth Order of AHEPA: Chapter267 (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association).
Chris was an active public servant with 12 years on the Duluth Planning Commission, 2 years on the Duluth Board of Zoning, 10 years with the Duluth YMCA Fatherless Boys Association, Board Member of Minnesota Blue Cross/Blue Shield, member of the American Legion, AARP, and a much-adored lifelong member of the Duluth YMCA. For leisure, he enjoyed bocce, curling, bowling, and golf. After his favorite hang-out closed, The Jolly Fisher, he became an almost daily patron of the downtown Coney Island. Coffee and an abundance of lively conversations abounded.
Chris loved his hometown of Duluth, MN and the magnificent Lake Superior. He'd often be found walking down in Canal Park along the Lakewalk. His personality, warm and infectious, you immediately became his cherished friend. People from all walks of life were drawn to his effervescent personality, warm smile, and the twinkle in his eyes. He was a doting Grandfather (Papou') to his two cherished grandchildren, Anders Christian (b. 2002) and Adara Francine (b. 2003). A pillar of strength and wisdom to his much-adored daughter, Kristina, she bestowed upon him the title of "My Rock." (Based on Psalm 61:2).
Chris was preceded in death by his father, Nick Eliopoulos Solon (d. 1962), his wife, Frances Farmakes Solon (d. 1990), his nephew, Nick Solon (d. 2001), his brother, Senator Sam Solon (d. 2001), his mother, Demitra Stasinopoulos Solon (d. 2002), and his brother, Louis Solon (d. 2011).
He is survived by his loving daughter, Kristina Solon-Boe (David Boe), grandson, Anders Boe, granddaughter, Adara Boe, Sister Bessie Solon, and brother Vlasie Solon, all of Duluth, MN. And many much-loved nieces and nephews.
Military Honors provided by the Duluth Combined Honor Guard.
Visitation: 5-8 p.m. with 7:30 p.m. memorial Trisagion Friday at Dougherty Funeral Home, 600 E. 2nd Street. Service 11 a.m. Saturday at Twelve Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church. Burial in Forest Hill Cemetery. Memorials preferred to Twelve Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church or towards funds for a memorial bench along the Lakewalk. Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, 727-3555.
Twelve Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Chruch
632 East 2nd Street, Duluth MN 55805