Elias S. Sarris

Elias S. Sarris

Elias S. Sarris

Elias Steve "Louie" Sarris, 42, of Dubuque, fell asleep in the Lord Saturday, Jan. 31, after being struck by a car in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

He was born on Aug. 18, 1966, in Dubuque, son of Steve and Nina Sarris.

Louie lived a life full of passion. He was absolutely devoted to his parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins. His friends knew him to be a friend for life. He was deeply proud of his Greek heritage and in particular, felt an abiding love for his parents' village of Kardamyla in Chios, Greece.

He was a devout parishioner of his childhood church, Prophet Elias, and served honorably on the church board for many years. Louie had a keen ear and was able to pick up almost any musical instrument and play it with ease. He will be deeply missed by family and friends alike who will remember his humor and funny stories, his love of Greek music and dancing and his warmth and generosity.

Surviving are his parents, Steve and Nina Sarris; his siblings, Anna and Peter Kachevas, Michael and Chrysso Sarris and Despina and Jim Matheos; as well as his nephews and nieces who will remember him always as their favorite "Theo Louie."

He served as Chios Societies Asst. Supreme Treasurer from 2006-2008.  We all feel extreme sadness for our fallen Chian brother.  Our condolences go out to his family from the Supreme Lodge, Governors, Directors, and representatives of the member societies.

In his memory, donations may be made to:

Chios Societies of America & Canada Memorial Scholarship Award

912 Linden Ave

Ridgefield, NJ 07657

(The Chian Society of California has initiated and pledged the first funds to award our students scholarships in Louie’s memory)



Elias "Louie" Steve Sarris Memorial Fund

c/o Dimitrios & Despina Matheos

290 S. Grandview Avenue

Dubuque, IA 52003


Louie with us at the 52nd National Chian Convention, San Francisco Bay Area


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Dubuque man remembered as family's 'glue

Sarris was killed last week in a Florida hit-and-run accident


The late Elias "Louie" Sarris is shown dancing with his niece, Zoe Marika, of Chicago, at a baptism in Dubuque.


The late Elias "Louie" Sarris is shown dancing with his niece, Zoe Marika, of Chicago, at a baptism in Dubuque.

Today, people from around the country and across an ocean will gather to mourn the loss of a Dubuque man known for his dancing, humor and warmth.

Elias "Louie" Sarris, 42, was killed last week in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was returning from dinner with his cousins and as he crossed the street, a driver struck him and fled the scene on foot, said Jim Matheos, Sarris' brother-in-law. The driver has not been located.

Sarris' death shocked his family, spread out between California and New York and as far away as Greece. Debbie Matheos, of Dubuque, said her brother formed tight bonds with family members across the world.

"Even though (the family was) far apart, we have been together, just through silly times, through holidays. And Louie was such a great connection," Debbie Matheos said. "He was the glue that kept everyone in touch and let everyone know what was going on."

Sarris was born and raised in Dubuque, one of four children of Greek immigrants, Steve and Nina Sarris. The Hempstead High School alumnus graduated from Loras

College and worked at Kendall Hunt Publishing for a number of years. Most recently, Sarris worked as a regional sales representative for California-based Scientific Learning.

Debbie Matheos said her brother returned to their parents' village on the Greek island Chios every year and even bought a house there recently. When he returned to the United States, he would never forget his Greek roots, Matheos said.

Sarris was active in his church, Saint Elias the Prophet Greek Orthodox Church. Ed Dissell, who has served with Sarris on the parish council, said Sarris helped keep the small church alive. Though the Greek community in Dubuque is small, Dissell said it's a tight-knit community.

"He cared very much about the church and its survival," Dissell said.

Sarris volunteered as much time as possible planning the church's annual Greek Festival. It was a fitting role for a man who had a gift for picking up instruments and playing them by ear, Debbie Matheos said. He played the bouzouki, a tear-shaped string instrument, the clarinet and piano, among others. Perhaps Sarris was best known for his vitality and energy when he danced, Debbie Matheos said.

"He danced from his heart," she said. "When you Greek dance, there's something emotional about it."

Sarris captivated anyone who watched him dance, and he pulled others along with him. Debbie Matheos said her brother especially loved to teach his nieces and nephews how to dance.

He taught his eight nieces and nephews about their heritage and how to speak Greek, Sarris' brother, Mike, said. Everyone called him "Theo Louie," or "Uncle Louie."

"He would wrestle with them and chase them around the house," Mike Sarris said.

Besides his dancing, Sarris was known for his self-deprecating humor and inside jokes.

"He'd always try to diffuse tense situations with humor," Mike Sarris said.

Mike Sarris and Debbie Matheos said they estimate around 150 people will come from out of town to attend their brother's funeral this morning. Along with local attendees, they hope their small Greek church can accommodate the crowd, but they know their brother could have made it work.

Jim Matheos said his brother-in-law never lost touch with what was important in life: friends and laughter. "He was like a 40-year-old child. He never stopped living," Jim Matheos said. "Some of us grow up and we forget to live. Louie didn't."





BSO seeks driver in fatal hit-run in Wilton Manors

By Juan Ortega

5:50 PM CST, February 3, 2009


A driver fatally struck an Iowa man Saturday, then crashed nearby, abandoned his car and fled. Now, Broward Sheriff's Office investigators are looking for the driver.

A tan 2008 Hyundai Sonata fatally struck Elias S. Sarris, 42, late Saturday night as he crossed in the westbound lane of Wilton Drive, officials said.

The Sonata's driver, whose identity wasn't released by officials Tuesday, then tried to make a U-turn but went out of control, struck a parked car and stopped against a chain-link fence.

The driver then left the Sonata and ran off.

Sheriff's investigators recovered the vehicle and are collecting evidence.

Sarris was taken to Broward General Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead hours later.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.


Hit-and-run in Wilton Manors raises safety concerns

By Juan Ortega and Michael Turnbell

9:14 AM EST, February 4, 2009


As authorities on Tuesday searched for a hit-and-run driver who left a pedestrian to die, avid pedestrians complained Wilton Drive is a dangerous road that lacks crosswalks.

Elias S. Sarris, 42, of Dubuque, Iowa, was crossing the road in the 2100 block of Wilton Drive about 11:45 p.m. Saturday, when a driver fatally struck him.

The impact hurled him about "20 to 25 feet" in the air before he fell on the pavement, said Constantine Kafantaris, Sarris' cousin who witnessed the crash. The driver soon after lost control of his tan 2008 Hyundai Sonata, which struck a parked car. He abandoned his car and ran away. Authorities know the identity of the car owner, but haven't determined who was driving the car Saturday.

"I'm very surprised he didn't stop to help," said Kafantaris, 42, of Fort Lauderdale. "Running from the scene is inexcusable."

Paramedics took Sarris to Broward General Medical Center, where doctors pronounced him dead early Sunday.

He was fatally struck the same day the state Department of Transportation reduced the speed limit on Wilton Drive from 35 mph to 30 mph. The change came after a year and a half of meetings between DOT and city officials. Still, some residents say the city could do more to make the area safe for pedestrians, including boosting police presence.

"It's tragic," said six-year resident Michael Juhlin, 38. "Within hours of them changing the speed limit, there's a body in the road."

Planned improvements for Wilton Drive include a traffic signal on Northeast Ninth Avenue and Wilton Drive, and a mid-block pedestrian signal between Northeast 20th Street and Northeast 21st Court, a DOT official said. But most won't occur until 2010.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Sheriff's Detective Robert Miller at 954-321-4840 or anonymously report the tip to BSO through Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS or online at www.browardcrimestoppers.org.

Juan Ortega can be reached at jcortega@sunsentinel.com or 954-356-4701.