Konstantin “Gus” Michael Raptis (98) of Overland Park, KS has peacefully left this earth to join the Lord on November 30th, 2023.
Konstantin was born in the small snowy mountain village of Zouzouli, Greece on April 23, 1925 to Keratso and Michael Raptis. He endured many hardships during his youth and adolescent life, including World War II, but by the grace of God survived and was able to fulfill his dream of building a life in America. In September 1951, he left Greece by boat and nearly 1 month later planted his very first root in Kansas City.
It is here that he met his beloved wife Vassiliki “Betty” Raptis of 70 years. Together they share their greatest treasure, whom he lived his life for, his daughter Pauline. As his family grew, so did his heart. With each grandchild and great grandchild, his life was extended; and for that, we are truly blessed.
Konstantin owned The Shoe Mart in Mission, KS with his Uncle Constantine Nicholas who sponsored him in his immigration from Greece to the United States. He kept the store until 1986 when his daughter and son-in-law, Ted, welcomed their first child. From that moment on, his favorite role to play was Papou.
He and Vassiliki moved to Omaha, NE in 1986 to be with their family, and then to Atlanta, GA in 1997. They loved their stays in both cities, making wonderful friendships. In 2007, they came back to KC, their home.
Konstantin was an active member and Protopsalti (Primary Cantor) at Saint Dionysios Greek Orthodox Church, a devoted member of AHEPA for over 50 years, a Mason and a member of several other organizations.
At the age of 90, he wrote and published a book recounting his life stories, which was included in the archives of the Library of Congress. That same year, he was the honoree for the large fundraiser of the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago, IL, which he considered a great tribute.
He cherished his family and friends and showed his love by never saying “no” when asked for help or a favor. He was an avid gardner, always sending us home with bags of cucumbers from his garden, and he loved to fish. Few could match his ability to grill. He was the king of the shish-kabob stand at the greek festivals and he loved to Greek dance. We will forever remember his adorable two handed wave, acknowledging everyone around him.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Keratso and Michael Raptis, and his siblings Aspasia, Despo, Vasilios, Theologia and Anastasia.
He is survived by his wife Vassiliiki Raptis, daughter Dr. Pauline Raptis Sleder, son-in-law Ted Sleder, granddaughters Elaine Draper (Brent), Kristina Fulton (Taylor), and Lia Diamantis (John). He will also love from heaven his five great grandchildren, Theo, George, Alexandra, Costa and Nicholas.
So, we leave you with a quote passed down to our beloved Konstantin from his father, “The sun rises for the whole world, not only for us… Always be good people, fair and true, don’t lie to them, and God will always be with you.” May his memory be eternal.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Konstantin’s name to St. Dionysios Greek Orthodox Church at 8100 West 95th Street, Overland Park, KS 66212.