SAM K. ZAMBELIS, 50, of Memphis passed away August 26, 2008. Sam was the owner of Bon Ton Café in downtown Memphis, He was a member of St. George Greek Orthodox Church where he served as President for many years. He was a member of Order of AHEPA and former President of Kappa Alpha Fraternity and a sponsor of the Redbirds Stadium. Sam is survived by his mother Aspasia V. Zambelis; brother and sister-in-law Michael and Kathy Zambelis; nephews John Michael and Chris Zambelis; Aunt Mary Kapos; cousins Julia Kapos, George and Theodora Alekos; nephews Dimitri and Bobby Alekos and a host of other relatives and friends. Visitation will be from 5-8 p.m. Friday, August 29 at Family Funeral Care. Funeral Service will be 11 a.m. Saturday, August 30 at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Bartlett. Burial will be in Memorial Park Cemetery. Memorials may be made to St. George Greek Orthodox Church. Family Funeral Care 901-761-8000 (Published in The Commercial Appeal on 8/28/2008)
Family was first to Zambelis, 2nd-generation Bon-Ton owner a good neighbor, By Carla Underwood, Published in The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN, on August 28, 2008:
Sam Zambelis ran Downtown's Bon-Ton Café more like a family dining room than a public establishment. On his watch, customers say they could always count on good food, friendly service and a willing ear for whatever troubled them. These patrons are among many throughout the community who will miss the generosity and kindness of the dedicated businessman and devoted family man. Mr. Zambelis died at his Memphis home on Tuesday. He was 50. "Sam kept the legacy of his dad (former Bon-Ton owner Mike Zambelis) going," recalled longtime friend Helerio "Harry" Reyna. Reyna and Mr. Zambelis grew up attending the same church, sharing the same godfather, and recently become friendly competitors when Reyna opened Elliott's restaurant just around the corner from the Monroe café. "It was like father, like son," recalled Reyna. "If someone was hungry, Sam would feed them." Mr. Zambelis' generous spirit also carried over to his other passions. "One of his greatest loves was his church, but the most important love and devotion was that of his family," said his sister-in-law, Kathy Zambelis. "One of his greatest phrases was, 'Whatever you want or need, I'll do it.' And he always did." Mr. Zambelis was born in Memphis on July 18, 1958, to Aspacia and Mike Zambelis, an immigrant. A native of Ithaca, Greece, his father eventually made the Bluff City his home, opening the landmark Downtown eatery in 1950. He died in 1998. The Bon-Ton, still a favorite for many of the Downtown breakfast and lunch crowd, also was a destination for military personnel of the 1950s as they passed through town on their way home from World War II. "Right after the war, it was the place to go," Sam Zambelis told The Commercial Appeal in 1998. Mr. Zambelis was a lifetime member of St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Bartlett, where he was chairman of the church's annual Greekfest, served as president for many years, and was a member of the Order of AHEPA. He received an engineering degree from the University of Memphis and was former president of Kappa Alpha fraternity. Mr. Zambelis leaves his mother, Aspacia Zambelis, and a brother, Michael Zambelis, both of Memphis. Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 6984 U.S. 70 in Bartlett. Family Funeral Care on Summer has charge. The family requests memorials be sent to St. George.
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