William N. Zakis

July 6, 1923 - May 20, 2019

William N. Zakis


William "Bill" Zakis, most recently of Portland OR., passed away, May 20th, 2019 at the age of 95. He passed peacefully and without pain in the company of his children. He was born in Hanna, Wyoming to John and Zambia Zakis who immigrated to the United States from Crete, Greece.

He was a World War II veteran and an excellent student. After his time in the army he received a full scholarship to the University of Wyoming where he met his wife, Virginia Lowry, and earned a Bachelor of Science as well as a Master of Arts in Geology. As a petroleum geologist, with CONOCO, his work took him and his family the world over-from Denver, Colorado to Tripoli, Libya, his first overseas posting, where he worked in the deep uninhabited Sahara. Next to Buenos Aires and the Pampas region in Argentina where his field work took him into remote mountainous areas, and then to Perth and Sidney, Australia, spending weeks in the outback. While working in Australia, he was sent to Papua, New Guinea, where he had to negotiate with tribal chieftains for permission to be in their territory amongst the indigenous people that were referred to as ‘cannibals and headhunters’. His final overseas post was in Dubai, UAE, where he and Virginia soaked in the culture of the Middle East for 12 years. He was grateful for his wife’s strength of character and continuous support in moving around the world with four children.

Upon retirement he attended the University of Utah to focus on his love of language. Poetry was his favorite class and he ended up writing copious amounts of poetry which Virginia would patiently type up for him. He wrote poems and created stories until, at the age of 94, arthritis made writing too difficult. At that point he continued to ‘write’ in his mind and share new poems and stories with anyone and everyone via his knack of storytelling.

He is preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Virginia Zakis and by his son, Timothy Zakis, his brothers Steve and Tom Zakis and sister Irene Kastrinakis.

He is survived by his loving family: sister Dena Savas of Salt Lake City, Utah, his sons Patrick (Sandy) Zakis of Denver, Colorado, Nickolas Zakis (Anndee Gilliam) of Laramie, Wyoming and daughter Kelly Zakis of Portland, Oregon; grandchildren William Zakis, Ryan Zakis and Stephanie Zakis as well as many nieces and nephews.
His children would like to thank the staff of Willamette View Health Center in Portland, Oregon for helping to make the last two years of Bill’s life artistically, physically and spiritually rewarding. Each staff member added a quality of worth and happiness to his life that he wholeheartedly embraced and from which he gained much joy.

Funeral services will be held at St. Anna’s Greek Orthodox Church in Salt Lake City Utah at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 7th. His nephew, Fr. Anthony Savas will officiate his funeral.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Smile Train - a children’s charity to which Bill and Virginia contributed regularly.

He will be greatly missed.

May his memory be eternal.