Vasilios (Bill) Dimitrios Pitsavas was born April 27, 1929, in Katafygion, Kozanis, Greece, first born child to Dimitrios and Alexandra (Xoufouris) Pitsavas. He was raised in his homeland of Greece. At the age of 27 Bill emigrated to the United States through Ellis Island. He was placed in Duluth and spent four years working in the steel yards by day and making pizza by night. After a visit to Northfield he grew especially fond of the town’s beauty, history and community. He decided to establish Bill’s Pizza Palace at 301 S. Water Street in 1960. During the next decade Bill was able to fulfill his heart’s desire bringing eighteen of his family members to Northfield.
On December 26, 1972, Bill married Theologia Tsiampera in Greece. After their wedding they returned to Northfield and together raised their three children, Dimitri, Ioannis (John) and Alexandra, and continued operating Bill’s Pizza Palace. In 1984 they renamed the business Basil’s Pizza. Although Bill retired in 1994, he was a constant presence for the next two decades in his family business.
Bill was a very loving and lovable man with an extraordinary heart who selflessly offered countless opportunities to family and friends. Family was the center piece of his life. Bill demonstrated his love and devotion through his faith in God, his kind and child-like spirit, his remarkable work ethic, his unwaivering courage, and his ever present glowing smile. Throughout his entire life Bill had a natural love for music and expressed it through his singing and his spirited dancing. His interests included golfing, hunting, woodworking, cooking and most especially celebrating events with family and friends.
Survivors include his wife of 42 years, Theologia; his son Dimitri (Sofia) and their children Theologia and Athena; his daughter Alexandra (Luis Wakely) and their children Anna and Austin; three sisters: Elizabeth (Paul) Poulios of River Falls, Wisconsin, Aspasia (Nick) Marazes of Greece, Elena Gounaikis of Greece; many nieces and nephews and relatives. He was preceded in death by his son Ioannis (John) on September 6th, 2007, his parents and his brothers Nick and Gus.
Bill fell asleep in the Lord surrounded by his wife and children on Monday morning, February 3rd, 2014 at the Northfield Hospital. He was 84 years old.
Funeral services will be 11 a.m., Monday February 10th, 2014 at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 1111 Summit Ave., St. Paul, MN with Rev. Richard Demetrius Andrews officiating. Interment will be at Oaklawn Cemetery, Northfield, MN. Casket bearers will be Dimitri Pitsavas, Luis Wakely, Phil Gounaikis, Jim Gounaikis, George Marazes, Jim Poulios, Tom Poulios and Dr. John Pardalos. Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. with a Trisagion Service at 7 p.m. on Sunday February 9th, 2014, at the Benson and Langehough Funeral Home in Northfield.
Arrangements are with the Benson and Langehough Funeral Home.www.northfieldfuneral.com