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Obituary: Damascus, Eleni (Helen)

DAMASCUS, Eleni (Helen) July 25, 1918-Feb 17, 2013 Born in British Columbia, Canada, Eleni Tsoukalas grew up in a large and full-of-life Greek family that made a living along the banks of the Fraser River——the story of so many newly arrived families, coming to help build their adopted countries as small business owners and fisherman. In 1938, she married Michael Damascus, a handsome Greek immigrant from Bellingham whose ties to Spokane led them back to this community and the Spokane Valley where they lived until her final days. Eleni worked alongside her husband, helping to run their recently purchased Liberty Lake Park Resort as well as a small neighborhood tavern in Dishman. She worked tirelessly alongside her husband in his many business ventures as the family grew with the birth of their three children. Their lives were rooted in Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church as well as in the larger community. They were also part of a very tight knit group known as the “Valley Greeks,” the orchardists, farmers, and small business people who looked to each other for support and were an important part of Spokane Valley history. As the family grew and prospered, Eleni continued working, raising her children and dedicating years of tireless service to her Church. She was also a lifetime member of Daughters of Penelope. However, if you asked her, those years were really more about laughter, jokes told and friendships made rather than any labor expended. In her later years, she was the “rock” that enabled her ailing husband to continue his active life until his passing in 1990 after over 52 years of marriage. Her last years were spent enjoying her beloved grandchildren and great-grandchildren, laughing and joking with them, truly a “kid at heart,” despite her declining health. She passed peacefully at home surrounded by family. Eleni was preceded in death by her husband Michael, her parents, her brothers John, Con and Nick, sisters Margaret and Mary, and son-in-law George Macris. She is survived by her daughters Engenia Macris, North Bend and Elizabeth Grafos (Dean) Spokane Valley, son Nicholas, Spokane Valley, and her dear daughter-in-law Mary, Seattle. Her beloved grandchildren: Chris Macris (Paula), Angelique Saffle (Mark), Harrison Grafos, Michelle Grafos Hellhake (Josh), Eleni Sederstrom (Eric), Michael Damascus, Anna Goodrich (Matthew) and great-grandchildren William and Olivia Grosvenor and Nicholas and Athan Sederstrom. She is also survived by her special friend and companion Cal Chaney, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Visitation will be at Hennessey-Smith Funeral Home, 2203 N. Division, Friday, February 22, 2:00-7:00 P.M. Funeral and Prayer services will be held Saturday, February 23, at 10:00 A.M. at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 1703 N. Washington. Father Stephen Supica officiating. Memorial donations may be made to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church or Holy Trinity Philoptochos Society, 1703 N. Washington, Spokane, WA 99205. Please visit Eleni’s online tribute at, and leave a message of condolence. “May her memory be eternal”