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Olga and George Xiarhos Veteran
September 08, 2008


Olga (Arvanites) Xiarhos and George Xiarhos of Acushnet, Massachusetts passed into everlasting life on September 8 and September 10, 2008 respectively. Olga passed at home surrounded by her loving family after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. She was the daughter of the late Paraskevoula (Soumbasis) and Antonios Efstratios Arvanites, from Peloponnesus Greece. George passed away two days later surrounded by his family after succumbing to failing health. He was the son of the late Efstratios and Kyriaki (Gaitanaros) Xiarhos.
George and Olga were married on September 28, 1952 at St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Together they made a home and family and created a life full of generosity, warmth, love, and beauty that they eagerly shared with friends and family. George and Olga each had their own distinct personality and together made a team so remarkable and special that the strength and splendor they brought the world will be admired for generations.
Olga was a dedicated friend and mother to all whom she met. Having graduated from New Bedford High School in 1946 Olga held many positions in local workplaces ranging from a worker at Wamsutta Mills to a teacher’s aide at Acushnet Public Schools as well as positions at Acushnet Process and John I. Paulding, Inc. Olga was an active and respected member in her community and the Greek Orthodox Church having served as secretary in the Ladies Philoptochos Society and as a lifelong member of the church choir. Whether for church coffee hour, a wedding cake for family or friend, or a meal at home, Olga was well known for her delicious cooking and in particular her perfection of Greek pastries. One never left her and George’s home hungry or without a supply of tiganites, baklava, kourambiedes, or koulourakia. Olga was loved and admired by all who knew her and was endearingly called YiaYia by more than just her family. She was happiest and most content spending time with her children, grandchildren, great-grandson, as well as with special friends and neighbors. YiaYia was the matriarch of our family and always led by example. She instilled in us an enduring appreciation for the values and traditions by which she lived each day of her life. Selfless and always doing for others, all who knew her were truly blessed. Our family will preserve in our heart the woman whose presence has and whose memory will hold us together forever.
As strong and selfless as Olga was, George was sensitive and generous. George always took notice of what others did for him and made sure that one’s efforts, whether large or small, did not go by unrecognized. He was well known for leaving gifts as a show of gratitude, a practice his father instilled in him. Whether for a simple haircut or for the deeply meaningful care for his ailing wife, George always made sure that you knew you were appreciated even if with just a simple bag of candy. He showed love to family and friends by ensuring that they were provided for with even the most basic of necessities. One could always rely on George and wouldn’t be allowed to leave his and Olga’s home in need. It pleased him to know that he had helped in some way and had some part in making your life just a bit easier.
George had a number of careers in the course of his life. Beginning with the United States Army Air Corps he attained the rank of Corporal and was awarded the World War II Victory medal. During his military career he was stationed at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii and also at a base in Guam. As a federal employee he worked for 29 years at Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod and over 3 years at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Massachusetts. Following his employment at Hanscom, George went on to work for the Massachusetts Racing Commission for a number of years. George also found time during his professional career to belong to and serve in many organizations including the Hellenic Lodge and Society, National Active Retired Federal Employees, and American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association. He was also a dedicated member of the St. George Greek Orthodox in New Bedford for which he served as both President and Treasurer over many years. George was the first member in the church’s history to receive the Laity Award from the Diocese of Boston in recognition for his contributions and commitment to church and community. George retired after working 11 years for the New Bedford public school system as a driver in the mail department, a job he enjoyed as it allowed him to be out and about, and see and chat with many people each day. Among other things, he enjoyed discussing his favorite baseball team, the Detroit Tigers, and was a true fan, remaining loyal regardless of their performance. Renowned for his encyclopedic knowledge about films, their history, and the actors in them, George also enjoyed discussing the merits and shortfalls of the silver screen.
Together and individually George and Olga each gave themselves unwaveringly to their community, their friends, and most of all to their family.
George and Olga leave behind a large and loving family including their daughter Carolyn X. Bishop of Middleboro, son Lt. Steven G. Xiarhos and his wife Lisa of Yarmouthport, daughter Patricia A. Verronneau and her husband Mark of Acushnet. Grandchildren include Nathan W. Bishop of California, Neil J. Bishop of Florida and Nicolas H. G. Bishop of Middleboro; Alyssa L. and Steven M. Verronneau of Acushnet; United States Marine Corps Lance Corporal Nicholas G. Xiarhos currently fighting for our country in Iraq, Alexander J., Ashlynne O. and Elizabeth J. Xiarhos all of Yarmouthport; and great-grandson George H. Bishop of Florida. George is survived by his sister Mildred Jorden and brother-in-law William Jorden of Dartmouth. Olga was the sister of Florence Hall of Sandwich, Constantine Arvanites, Louis Arvanites and his wife Jeannette, all of New Bedford and Peter Arvanites and his wife Jimmie of Virginia, and sister-in-law Brenda Arvanites. Olga was the sister of the late Steven Arvanites and Maria Arvanites Boucher and sister-in-law of the late Stephen Hall.
Funeral services for the couple will be held on Saturday, September 13, 2008 at 9:00 a.m. at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in New Bedford. Burial will follow in Pine Grove Cemetery. Visiting hours are Friday, September 12, 2008, from 4:00 to 8:00p.m. at the Saunders-Dwyer Home for Funerals, 495 Park Street, New Bedford. Remembrances may be made to St. George Greek Orthodox Church Building Fund, 87 Ashley Boulevard, New Bedford, Massachusetts 02746. For directions and guestbook, please visit

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Saunders-Dwyer Funeral Homes
495 Park Street
New Bedford, MA 02740