March 4, 1933 – September 17, 2014
Elaine E. Koutsounis, 81, of Waukegan, IL, formerly of Des Moines, IA, passed from this life on Wednesday, September 17, 2014, at her sister’s home in Waukegan, IL. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., on Friday, September 26, at Greek Orthodox Church of Saint George, located at 35th St. & Cottage Grove Avenue in Des Moines, IA. Burial will follow at the Masonic Cemetery, in Des Moines.
Elaine was born on March 4, 1933, in Des Moines, Iowa to Efthemios “Tim” and Panagiota “Toula” Koutsounis. She was a graduate of Roosevelt High School. A very devoted servant of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George in Des Moines; Elaine served on Parish Council and held the office of Parish Secretary and Parish President for two years. Elaine and the Parish were absorbed in activities for the visit of Patriarch Bartholomew to St. George’s Church. She has been a 50 year member of the choir and also directed the choir for 25 years
The Daughters of Penelope has been an important part of her life. Elaine has been a Lifetime Member of the Daughters of Penelope, Zeus Chapter #38, in Des Moines. She was selected National Penelope of the Year at the 75th Annual National AHEPA-Daughters of Penelope Convention held in Atlanta, Georgia in August 1997. This honor ranks second in the National Daughters of Penelope organization behind the position of Grand President. She served on the committee that brought the first Daughters of Penelope sponsored HUD housing to District 14. She served on the District level as Secretary, Advisor to the Maids and Past Governor. On the National level, she served on many committees, as well as Past Grand Governor of Zone III. In addition, Elaine served as President and Secretary many times in her chapter and also chaired various committees.
Having been employed in the insurance business for over 40 years, Elaine has served as Past President of Insurance Women of Des Moines and also participated in many committees. Other community activities include her work with the Council for International Understanding in Des Moines. She served as chair and board member for ten years, and for her dedication, she was named Volunteer for the Year. For area hospitals she provided verbal and written Greek translations, and for Greek foreign exchange students, she provided help in obtaining housing. Her favorite activity was lecturing to schools about Greek culture.
Elaine’s love of music led her to join the Drake University Community Choir for many years. She also sang with the Des Moines Choral Society. In her interview with the Des Moines Register, Elaine described her pride in her Hellenic heritage as follows: “my culture has always been a strong part of my life. I have always felt that way. After all, Greece is the cradle of democracy. I am proud of my heritage”.
She is survived and lovingly remembered by her sister, Anna K. (James) Poulos of Waukegan, IL; one nephew, Tim J. Poulos of Lindenhurst, IL; two great-nieces, Crystaline Poulos of Menomonee Falls, WI and Ashley Poulos of Waukegan; one great-nephew, James T. Poulos of Waukegan; one Godsister, Sophie (Tom) Vlassis of Des Moines; three Godsons, Michael (Chrystalla) Daly and Eric Frangos both of Des Moines, and George Panotopoulos of Filiatra, Messinias, Greece; one Goddaughter, Karen (Mark) Thompson of San Rafael, CA; and many loving cousins including, James (Roula) Alexander, Anna (Saki) Panotopoulos, and John Alexander all of Filiatra, Messinias, Greece, Vasili (Ana) Avramls of Ithaca, NY, Pamela Wingred of Havertown, PA, and Nick (Renee) Preftakes of Oklahoma City, OK. Elaine was preceded into eternal life by her parents, Tim and Toula Koutsounis.
The family will greet friends from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 25, at Iles Westover Chapel, where a Daughters of Penelope Service will begin at 7 p.m., followed by a Trisagion Service.
In agreement with her wishes, memorial contributions may be made in Elaine’s memory to the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint George.
ARRANGEMENTS BY ILES ~ WESTOVER CHAPEL.Information provided by: Iles Funeral Homes Westover Chapel 6337 Hickman Road Des Moines, IA 50322 www.ilesfuneralhomes.com