Wednesday , July 31, 2013 - 12:46 AM
OGDEN — A devoted community supporter and a catalyst for change in Ogden, Jim G. Stavrakakis passed away July 21.
Stavrakakis strove for the betterment of his community by seeking opportunities to serve other people, said Dave Hardman, president of the Ogden-Weber Chamber of Commerce, of which Stavrakakis was an active member.
“The only real way to put it is Jim was just a community supporter,” Hardman said. “Anything he could do, to be somewhere or help, he was always there if something was going on.”
The California native came to Utah while serving in the Air Force.
After serving two tours of duty in Korea, where he worked as a photographer for the 17th Bomb Wing, Stavrakakis, while on assignment at Hill Air Force Base, found a home in Utah. He graduated from Weber State College with a degree in social work and became a social worker for the state.
Over the course of his adult life, Stavrakakis expanded the reach of his involvement in Ogden’s workings, serving on the board of directors of United Way Northern Utah, Union Station, YCC, Egyptian Theater and Golden Spike Arena.
Some parts of Stavrakakis’ work will live on, even in his passing, as his predecessors follow in his footsteps.
One such legacy that will continue is his “Shoes for Tots” program.
Stavrakakis established the program as a way to provide new shoes for children in need. He continued to grow the operation until “it got so big, he couldn’t handle it on his own,” Hardman said.
Hardman said “Shoes for Tots” today helps to provide thousands of youngsters with new shoes each year.
Stavrakakis also received special recognition in his life for his work as a Spiker, a kind of ambassador, for the Ogden-Weber Chamber, Hardman said. He participated in as many as 75 events each year, acting as a representative for the chamber at ribbon cuttings, grand openings and ground-breaking ceremonies for local businesses.
“He never missed a meeting,” Hardman said. “He was always there, providing a lot of great support.”
Hardman said Stavrakakis was well-known in the community for his work, and for bartending at Ogden’s social events for decades.
Hardman said, “He was famous for that.”
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