Lymberopoulos, Harilaos "Harry" N. 78 of Needham, MA and native of Filiatra, Messenia, Peloponnesus, Greece. Father, husband, brother and friend to all, found his way to heaven peacefully in the comfort of his own home, exactly where he wanted to be, on Monday, November 14, 2022. Harry’s wife and life partner Suzanne (Fontaine) Lymberopoulos was the “love of his life” for 36 years.
Harry was the third of seven children born on March 29, 1944 to Nikolaos and Athina (Tsoulos) Liberopoulos in a one-roomed clay house in an idyllic village of equal parts land and sea. He had to be self-sufficient and scrappy from a young age and his resourcefulness followed his every move through his life. Harry was a performer and a showman who looked for every opportunity to entertain people and surprise them. With Harry at the helm, he and brothers, Kostas and Yiannis traveled to the many Aegean facing villages that fortified the Messenian coast and solicited spectators right out of their homes to watch their comedy sketches. Harry was a well-known soccer fanatic and star in his village and though small in stature, he was fast and had impeccable hand-eye coordination, which earned him a coveted spot of the impenetrable goalie on his Greek National Airforce team. With a mind to take over the globe one day, Harry quickly graduated from high school and set his sights on Athens. Harry began his career in Greece in fine hospitality, working at the landmark Hilton Hotel in Athens and working as a trapeze artist, actor, comedian and to his delight, he remained a soccer player with dreams of making it pro. Though he never made it to the European leagues, his dreams were realized because his nephew, Nikos Liberopoulos (son of Kostas) made it to the World Pro Footballer stage. There was no bigger fan of his than Harry. In fact, there was no one who knew more about each player and team than Harry.
When he immigrated to America at 25 years old, with a head full of the finest jet-black hair and three words of English in his vocabulary, he burned with ambition and aspired to build a life beyond the simple comforts of his humble agricultural roots in the horio (village). Harry came to America to learn English and reach his immense potential and he brought many relatives to the states with him. Harry put education on the highest pedestal and adopted the English language masterfully, but he also used his whit, charm, and pure heart to capture the hearts and minds of everyone encountered. Harry was a brilliant linguist, biographer, historian, and storyteller. He learned by talking to people and when he couldn’t find the words, he would use his hands, and his entire body. Harry wore so many hats and capes in his remarkable time. He was an entrepreneur with more ambitions than he knew what to do with, but through grit and tenacity, he managed to weave together a career of many business ventures and industries not limited to grocery, food, and beverage, produce, furniture and even unofficially, auto mechanics—there was no one who could fix his car better than he could, even when he was forced to use wood glue and chicken wire. There was no obstacle, problem, or height too great for him to tackle.
His greatest job was those of father, husband, and chef. There was no cuisine or dish that he did not think he could make better than those who’d invented it. He was an expert in flavor, composition, and outsized portioning. Harry did everything in life on the largest, grandest scale. If you begged him not to bring anything to a dinner party, he’d show up with a salad for 12. If you cavalierly told him to bring “nothing,” he’d bring a salad, a sheet pan of roasted vegetables drowning in Kalamata olive oil, a cheesecake and a grocery bag full of fruits and vegetables to feed your family for a week. He was the most generous man anyone had ever met and if you tried to top him, you’d lose every time. His most favorites moments were those in which his family and his friends, especially his beloved neighbor Cynthia, were gathered around his table and inquiring about how it was possible for one person to prepare such a vast quantity of delicious food in under two hours. Harry gave love, he was love, and food was his love language. His great love for his wife, Suzanne was shown in hamburgers, scallops, and trips to the south shore to eat seafood on the beach. Harry would pick Suzanne fresh zinnias from his jungle-sized garden every week. Harry and Suzanne traveled to many places together over the years, embarking on adventures to Venice, Istanbul, Rome, Gibraltar and countless Greek islands.
His greatest love, pride and accomplishment by far and wide, were his beloved children, Nikolaos, Andreas and Ariana. He would give the literal jacket off his back or the one from the back of his closet for his children, no matter how unfit. He was beyond proud of his son Nickolaos, also a star soccer player, for being an always reliable, steadfast and levelheaded son, husband and father. He was beyond proud of his son Andreas and told anyone who would listen that he was an ambitious master carpenter and creator who built a tiny house himself and drove it across the country. He was proud that Andreas was building a beautiful home by hand for himself and his wonderful partner, Morgan on Bainbridge Island, which Harry beamed “was just like Filiatra.” His daughter Ariana was the center of his universe, his constant companion, and his protector. He revered her as “the most resilient person who could tackle anything with her claws out.” He was proud of the life she and her fiancé, Jake had built and shared with him and Suzanne and their huge family in Hingham, MA. He adored and treasured his grandchildren Kaliope Wren and Harilaos Isaac. Some of his last were to his children were: “least I know that I left something very, very good behind on this earth. I left good people behind.” He gave his children the greatest gift of pure and unconditional love.
Harry touched every person that he met. If you weren’t his best friend, it was only a matter of hours until you felt like you were. There was no person he didn’t welcome with a high five and a hug, there was no compliment he didn’t take the time to give. He had a gift for making everyone around him feel exceptional. He judged a person by their generosity and kindness and by the size of their watermelons and if that’s the standard, he was the greatest man that ever lived. We feel comforted in the certainty that he is in heaven enjoying a glass of krasi, fishing, cooking and playing soccer with his parents, brothers and sister and friends and planting the biggest garden the world has ever seen with giant grin on his jolly face.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his children, Nickolaos Lymberopoulos and his wife Dr. Rachel Berman of Acton, Andreas Lymberopoulos and partner Morgan Houk of Bainbridge Island, WA, and Ariana Lymberopoulos and her Fiancé Jake Mazelsky of Hingham; his grandchildren, Kali (8), Harry (6); his siblings departed and still with us, Takis and Serafim of Filiatra, Greece and the late Haralambia Zaggos, Kostas, Yiannis, from Greece; he is also survived by his beloved nieces and nephews. He was the brother of the late Ambrosios Lymberopoulos of Brockton, his wife Eleni (Makris) and their children Athena (Lymberopoulos) and Spiros Giannaros of Hingham and Nickolaos and Liz (Moreira) Lymberopoulos of Upton, MA. He is survived by our beloved neighbors and lifelong friends, Cynthia and Julia Hadley of Needham and an adoring extended family, the Mazelsky, Houk and Berman families. He will be dearly missed.
Visiting hours at the George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home, 1305 Highland Avenue, Needham on Friday, November 18, from 4-7pm. Funeral service will be held on Saturday, November 19, at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 457 Oak St. Brockton, MA at 10AM with procession to follow to St. Joseph Cemetery, 990 LaGrange St. West Roxbury. All are invited to attend a reception to follow the burial at Juniper Restaurant, Wellesley.