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James Klarevas, 80, of Wilkes-Barre, passed away peacefully on Sunday, September 2, 2018, surrounded by family, following a courageous battle against prostate cancer.
Born and raised on the Greek island of Ikaria, he was one of eight children born tothe late Ilias and Vasiliki Klarevas. After years of service and world travel in the merchant marines, he came to the United States in 1968 with his wife Frideriki and infant son Louis, set on pursuing the American Dream. Opting for a new career in the restaurant industry, he worked tirelessly to ensure his family’s success, first by assisting his brother Nick at his diner, the Texas Lunch in Lock Haven, PA, and then by partnering with his cousin Angelo Atsaves to run the old Astor Restaurant on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre, PA.
In 1980, he bought and began operating the Hart Restaurant on Hazle Avenue, in the Heights section of Wilkes-Barre, where he became a Wyoming Valley fixture. He ran the Hart until late 2001, when he sold it, beginning a long-deserved retirement.
“Jimmy,” as all his regulars called him, prided himself on offering his customers high-quality, home-cooked food at affordable prices. And the lines that often went out the door and wrapped around the corner were a testament to the popularity of his meals. But nothing made him happier than cooking for his family. From his monumental Thanksgiving dinners to his silver-dollar pancakes, which were available to grandchildren at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, he understood and appreciated how food brought everyone together.
Until his wife fell seriously ill in 2015, requiring constant care, James spent his golden years vacationing in Greece, gardening and landscaping, and indulging in his guilty pleasure of watching old Westerns and pro wrestling on TV.
A devout Greek Orthodox Christian, his faith never wavered. He cherished the bonds he shared with his fellow parishioners of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Wilkes-Barre, and was a proud member of the philanthropic Pan-Icarian Brotherhood of America, New York City Chapter.
James was preceded in death by his wife, parents, and sisters Niki and Eftichia.
He is survived by his son, Louis and his partner Rada Ghemigian, Queens, NY; his son Steven and his wife Daun, Fairfax, VA; his three grandchildren, James, Calvert, and Zoe; his sisters Canella, Stella, and Vera; and his brothers Nick and John.
Funeral services will be held on Friday at 11:00 A.M. at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 32 E. Ross St., Wilkes-Barre. Father Gabriel Nicholas will officiate. Interment will follow in Oak Lawn Cemetery, 1250 S. Main St., Hanover Twp. Please go directly to church if you will be attending the service.
Family and friends may visit at Kniffen O’Malley Leffler Funeral & Cremation Services, Inc., Wilkes-Barre, on Thursday from 5-8 P.M. A Trisagion service will be held at 6:00 P.M.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in James’s memory to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 32 E. Ross St., Wilkes-Barre, PA, 18701, or to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center,via the hospital’s website at https://giving.mskcc.org.
Condolences may be sent to www.kniffenfuneralhome.com.