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Louis Kapnistos

Louis Kapnistos


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Kansas City Star, The (MO) - May 7, 2003

  • Section: OBITUARIES
  • Page: B4

Louis James Kapnistos, "Louie", passed away in Kansas City, MO on May 4, 2003, at his home. Funeral services will be Thursday, May 8, 2003, at 10 a.m. at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 120th and Wornall. Burial in Calvary Cemetery. Visitation will be 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, 2003, at McGilley State Line Chapel. Memorial contributions may be made to the Icon Fund of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church or the American Cancer Society. 

Louie was born October 26, 1950 in Kansas City, MO. His personality, EXTRODANAIRE, he was talented in everything he touched, including the love he had for his circle of family and friends. A heart so big, you really, really felt the warmth. He was active in community affairs, a devoted fan of the arts and an excellent pianist. He loved his church. He was proud of his Greek heritage, a fluent Greek speaker, and he loved visiting the homeland and of his grandparents in Ikaria, Greece. Louie excelled in corporate furniture design and planning, interiors and sales. He always celebrated holidays with gusto Galore, including fireworks and the whole sha-bang. 

He had so much to give and he gave his all in everything he did, which will be everlasting in our hearts. A wonderful son, brother, life-partner, uncle, cousin, grandchild, nephew, brother-in-law and friend. To those who knew him, we will miss him deeply, to those who didn't missed out on a wonderful and unique individual. We love you, Louie. God Bless you always. 

Survived by loving parents, John and Angie Kapnistos; sisters, Debbie Kapnistos, Steffie Kapnistos-York; Lifepartner, Bob Temple; brothers-in-law, Mickey York, Stanley Douris; nephew, Clayton York; niece, Maggie York; many, many relatives and friends. And "My Big Fat Greek Family." (Arrangements: McGilley State Line Chapel, 12301 State Line Rd. (816) 942-6180)      

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04/06/18 08:16 PM #1    

Cyndi Kaufman (Goldfarb)

Louie and I were great friends from grade school on.  What was it he called himself?  Louie Kap, the Terrible Greek??? He was SO much fun!  I feel like I only remember him smiling, and he usually cracked me up.  However, he was the first person to notice (or to comment!) the day I first wore a bra in 6th grade, in Mrs Hunter's class at Hale Cook. (OH, the EMBARRASSMENT!)  Of course, Louie being Louie, he needed to point that out as I stood at the blackboard by his desk:  "Cindy, an extra strap!!!!" he said rather loudly, with a devilish glint in his eye, while beaming.  I remember hissing at him, "SHUT UP, Louie!" and he did.  I was not known for hissing, and never before at him.  At the time of our 20 year reunion, my husband and I were living on fumes, me a mostly stay-at-home mom and him an underpaid physicist at what was then called The National Bureau of Standards. We took a group photo during the reunion, and I honestly couldn't pay the $10 fee to purchase a copy.  Louie was absolutely incensed that I should go without, and whipped out his wallet to buy me one.  It may not sound like a big deal now, but it meant the world to me then.  I believe that was the last time I saw him.  I have tears in my eyes as I type this...

04/13/18 09:02 AM #2    

Randall Savage

Fondly recall the party Louie threw up at Ward Pkwy food court years ago. He hired a strolling accordian player and sat in a really tall chair like a referee at Wimbleton and greeted the masses like he was the Pope. Whatahoot. Love you Brother

05/01/18 04:08 PM #3    

Marjiann Briscoe (Polson)

Louie and I weren’t close friends in school and hadn’t seen him since graduation until our 30th reunion was being planned in the 90’s.  I was standing outside City Hall where I worked taking a smoke break, and I heard a voice say, “aren’t you Marjiann?”  I turned toward the voice and it was Louie.  I was embarrassed not to recognize him until he told me who he was.  But what a wonderfully pleasant surprise!


05/30/18 12:47 PM #4    

Doris Frazier (Vogt)

Louie, "The Greek",  was in my senior English class.  Poetry and Shakespeare were not really my thing but I loved that class because I sat across from Louie and Chris Boice and I could always look forward to a joke or funny wisecrack from those guys.  I'll always remember Louie's big smile.  Such a great guy!

05/31/18 11:17 AM #5    

Mark Jeffrey Grant

I can personally attest to Cindy Kaufman's recollection. I was in Ms. Hunter's class with her and Louie and she did hiss at him. As boys, what did we know then? Not so much. I saw my first breasts in National Geographic magazine, as I recall. Then, what, Cindy had them. I think we just all wondered where they came from. I remember Louie saying to me that Cindy was wearing a bra. I said, "Yes, that is what girls do." He replied, "Oh." God Bless Louie, the *Wonderful* Greek.

05/31/18 04:49 PM #6    

Steve Turley

Louie and I had several classes together over the years and he was a great joker.  I kept up with him after college because he worked on and off at a relative’s restaurant called Tasso’s in Waldo.  My dad’s office was next door to Tasso’s for a number of years and we ate there semi-regularly.  One night we went there and Louie was our server.  We probably talked too long that night, but heard incredible stories of his yearly visits back to Greece and the island his family lived on.  We didn’t see him regularly but just enough to enjoy the time there.  After several visits to Tasso’s we didn’t see him for a while.  One of my college classmates asked me and my wife out to dinner to meet his girlfriend.  They liked Greek food and  suggested Tasso’s.  We accepted and met them at the restaurant.  As we were waiting for a table my friend told me that they really enjoyed the food there, but the some of the help were a problem.  One waiter in particular must have just gotten off the boat...he did not know English and it made ordering difficult.  I didn’t think too much about it until we sat down and my friend rolled his eyes and whispered that our sever was the one who didn’t know English.  I looked up at the man and said, “Hi, Louie!  We’ve missed you!”  We talked for a minute and I realized this was the person my friend was talking about.  Louie admitted that his Uncle (I think that’s right) who owned the restaurant encouraged the staff to help the customers think that Tasso’s was really authentic, so he every once in a while acted “Greek”.  He obviously did it well!  We had a wonderful dinner and my friend continued to visit Tasso’s and now knew the inside scoop.  It was just a couple of years later we heard from his sister that Louie had died.  I think he was the first classmate that I knew of who had died.  Every time I eat at a Greek restaurant I can’t help but remember my Greek waiter.



06/05/18 09:49 PM #7    

Judi Lyddon (Adams)

It was in High School when Border Star merged with Bingham.  I got to know him as a junior/senior.  I, too, loved Louie, great friend and soo funny, compatible with all, and saw the best in everyone.  What a great person for us to know...and his family was awesome too!

07/04/18 09:12 PM #8    

Melinda Knight

Louie was an exatraordinarily kind and generous person.  I last saw him at a gas station on Broadway on a bitterly cold evening at Christmas time.  I had rented a car at the airport to drive home and stopped for gas.  He instantly recognized me and just made me feel so wonderful after a horrible trip.  That was just like him.  I was so sad when I heard that he was gone. 

07/29/18 05:32 PM #9    

Sally Wengrover

If not for a photo that Bob Unell emailed me a few months ago, I wouldn't be able to settle on one Louie story to tell.  I have too many memories.  Fortunately, the picture helps to focus my mind on one story in particular. 

Here goes.

Back in the winter of 1972, Louie Kapnistos, Chris Boice, Gary Schanzer, Bob Unell, and I drove to Texas to tour the state and visit Bob’s then girlfriend, now wife, Barbara Coleman.  While we were in Austin, an accommodating stranger took the picture that you see directly below.

Left to right, back row: Chris Boice, Louie Kapnistos, Gary Schanzer.  Front row: Sally Wengrover, Bob Unell, Barbara Coleman Unell


One day we drove across the US/Mexico border to shop at an outdoor market in Nuevo Laredo.  We arrived in the late afternoon.  Captivated by the jewelry, baskets, leather goods, and so on, we forgot about time, and while we were shopping, the sun set.  Agreeing it was time to get back to the US, we all hopped into the car, with Louie in the driver’s seat.  After we’d gone a couple of blocks, we realized that none of us knew how to get back to the border crossing.  There were no street lights.  We couldn’t see road signs, much less read and translate them.  Craning our necks out the windows, we asked pedestrians in English how to get to the border crossing.  “No hablo,” was everyone’s response.  Eventually, recalling that the Rio Grande separated the US from Mexico, Louie asked a pedestrian, “Donde esta el rio?”  The pedestrian pointed to our left, so we turned left.  Before long, we could see lights from Laredo, Texas, sparkling on water. 

We all breathed a sigh of relief.  But we still had a problem.  We couldn’t see any bridges that crossed the Rio Grande.  So I suggested that we stay on roads that ran alongside the river, or as close as possible to the water, thinking that at some point we’d find a bridge.  A few minutes later, we found ourselves in an area with warehouses.  We could see the river.  It was just a short block away, so we headed for it down a narrow alley. 

The alley curved so that it ran parallel to the river, and then it dead-ended.  “Maybe we can swim across,” someone quipped.  We all began to laugh, but we quickly quit laughing when we noticed that a police car had rolled up behind us, blocking our exit.  “Uh oh,” I said as a pair of officers approached our car.  The officer who took the driver’ side said something to Louie in Spanish.  Louie looked around the car.  We all gave him a shrug.  No one understood what the officer had said.  Undaunted, Louie looked up at the officer, flashed him the Louie Kapnistos million-dollar smile, pointed across the river and said, “Vamos aqui!”  The officer’s expression changed from stern to quizzical.  “Que?” he said.  "Vamos aqui," Louie responded, and he pointed so emphatically out the window that he bounced up and down on his seat as he repeated: “Vamos aqui!  Vamos aqui!  Vamos aqui!

Vamos aqui?” asked the officer.

“Si!  Vamos aqui!  Vamos aqui!  Estados Unidos!  Vamos aqui!”

Apparently, Louie’s disarming smile and insistent pointing convinced both of the officers that they had detained a car full of goofy but harmless tourists rather than a gang of hardened criminals.  “Oh, ha, ha, ha!  Vamos aqui, vamos aqui, ha, ha, ha!  Estados Unidos!  Vamos aqui!  Ha, ha, ha!”

*    *    *    *    *    *    *


It’s been about 46 years since that day.  My memory is foggy about what happened next.  Presumably, the officers led us safely to the border crossing.  But no matter how much time passes, I’ll never forget “Vamos aqui!  Vamos aqui!” and Louie’s dazzling smile as he said it.


Louie, you are missed.

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