It is with deep regret that we note the passing of Nicholas C. Petris, an original member of the Honorary Committee of our Society, on March 20.
Petris was born on February 25, 1923, of Greek parents in Oakland, California. After earning his degree at the University of California, Berkeley, and service in the Second World War, Petris went on to earn a law degree at Stanford University. He entered politics in 1966 when he was elected to the California State Senate, a position he held until his retirement in 1996, winning every election during those 38 years.
Known for his principled positions, especially concerning education, Petris was a pillar of the Greek-American community of California. It was within that context that he led the effort to raise funds for the reconstruction of the Temple of Nemean Zeus, and to make Nemea better known in California by, among other things, bringing 30 lawmakers to us in 1980. That trip culminated with Petris at the Temple announcing to the Town Council a grant of $30,000 for the preliminary study of the work.
Petris came back to us in 1984, this time leading a group of University of California alumni to celebrate the dedication of the museum. Again, his acquaintance with Greek officials, such as the Minister of Culture, Melina Merkouri, was very helpful to us.
In later years, after retiring from the California State Senate, Petris was afflicted with Alzheimer’s, but he continued for the next decade to appear every year at “Nemea Night” at Berkeley, wearing his Nemea t-shirt. He was a true and loyal friend of Nemea, the reconstruction of the Temple, and the revival of the Games. We were lucky to have him with us.