|Birth: ||Oct. 22, 1911, Greece|
|Death: ||Jan. 16, 2010|
A troubled but well known member of the Greektown community has died. She lived on the streets, but people who got to know her grew quite found of her.
Her real name was Stella Paris, but she was affectionately nicknamed "Greektown Stella" because Greektown was her home and the people there treated her like family.
"One of a kind, you know. I mean, there was only one Stella and everybody knew Stella," said Nick Flavotomas, former owner of Olympia. "(I've) know Stella since 1967 when I came to the United States."
95-year-old Stella Paris was special to so many people. She was from Greece and took pride in that. So, she choose to live her life on the streets of Greektown in downtown Detroit.
Stella was mentally ill and suffered from schizophrenia. Her family tried several times to take her home, but she wanted to be in Greektown. So, the community took care of her by giving her food, shelter and love.
"For some of us, that was part of the intrigue and fun of going to Greektown. Would we see her," said Bonnie Barton with the East Grand Nursing Home.
"She was a sweetheart," said Oliver Kesto, owner of Athens Liquor Store. "She always (paid) me for everything... She (didn't) accept anything for free."
Greektown Stella was quite a colorful character, and she's been known to cause some commotion as she shouted to the strangers on the street in Greek. Stella sported an army-type uniform and a billy club given to her by Detroit police for protection. DPD helped Greektown Stella in other ways, too.
"She would go to the police department, had an opportunity to bathe there," said John Barton with the East Grand Nursing Home.
"She used to wash her clothes there. The Greektown Merchants Association got her an apartment down the street, but she didn't like to live in an apartment. She got used to the street and that's where she was happy," Flavotomas said.
A few years ago, Greektown Stella went from living on the streets to the East Grand Nursing Home and they'd been her family for the last four years.
"Recently, her health declined and had a couple of trip into the hospital, and, as of Saturday, Greektown Stella left this earth," John Barton said.
Stella had a heart condition and her body just shut down.
"I do know she's with the Lord. There's a big smile on her face," Bonnie Barton said.
The nursing home has been trying desperately to find this Greektown legend's loved ones.
"Evidence so far seems to be that she has no family or at least no family that wants to admit to her," said John Barton.
Visitation will be at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 707 E Lafayette Blvd, Detroit.
Services will begin at 10 a.m. and burial will follow at Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit.
Note: AkA Stelia Perris, Stelia Paris
Created by: James Myers
Record added: Jan 19, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 46869689