Despina Efstathion

Despina T. Efstathion

Friday, December 5th, 1930 - Saturday, October 24th, 2020
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Despina “Bess” Efstathion passed peacefully from this earth on Saturday, October 24, 2020. Despina was 89 years old, two months shy of her 90th birthday. She was cherished by many, especially by her children.

We remember Mom as the “Queen of Hearts,” the Center of our family, a compassionate and giving Presence, the Keeper and Teacher of traditions, recipes and values. She was the Holder and Processor of relationships and family communications. She opened her home to all for celebrations as well as informal visits. She always ensured you had a listening and empathetic ear, as well as delicious food to eat. She believed in feeding body, mind, and soul. She will be greatly and deeply missed. She was a profound influence in our formation.

Despina John Tsagaris was born on December 5, 1930 in Fernandina Beach, FL and grew up in St. Augustine, FL. She was the daughter of Hariklia and John Tsagaris, emigrants of the islands of Simi and Kalymnos, Greece, respectively. She graduated from Ketterlinus High School, where she was a notable basketball athlete, voted Best Looking and described by her classmates as “with a heart as big as all outdoors and dimples in her cheeks.” Despina married Chris Efstathion in December 1953. They have three children: Evie, Chris, and Leah. Despina’s principal life roles were as devoted Daughter and Sister, Life and Business Partner and Wife to Chris, Mother, Grandmother, Aunt and Friend. She lived all of these roles fully and to the best of her ability.

Despina, along with her husband Chris, served the community for 60 years through Kiddie Kampus, Inc. and has been a vital part of Palatka and Putnam County. She and her husband were honored as Grand Marshalls in the 2016 Palatka Christmas Parade. Despina was a member of St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church in Jacksonville, FL and a faithful observer of its teachings and traditions.

Despina was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Chris Efstathion; her parents, Hariklia and John Tsagaris; and her older brother, Theofilos John Tsagaris. She is survived by her three children, Evie Efstathion Bodine (Robert), Christopher J. Efstathion (Ann), and Leah Efstathion; grandchildren: Evan Bodine (Carl), Rachel Efstathion and Christopher W. Efstathion, Erin Efstathion, Jennifer Colvin (Ryan); nieces and nephews: Terri Tsagaris, John Tsagaris (Patricia), Despina Tsagaris, Miles Bennett, Theo Tsagaris, Phoebe Tsagaris, Theodore Efstathion, Denise Efstathion Hayes (Corey), and Brett Efstathion; and cousin James Efstathion (Cheryl).

We are ever so thankful to Mom’s dear and close sister-friends Peggy Parker and Argena McQuaig, as well as her dear and faithful caregivers, Karen Solak and Patricia Hyman, who were present for Mom in her final days and hours. They served as a constant presence and source of encouragement and care. We are also grateful to Michelle Phillips (deceased) and Ashley Piacitelli for their warm and attentive caregiving. They have all had a profound influence on our family and are wonderful examples of what it means to be human.

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and to ensure the health and safety of all, the family and our priest, Father Nicholas Louh, will embrace the CDC guidelines as we seek to create healthful ways to participate in honoring our Mother. There will be a small graveside service for the family to honor Mom. It will be outside, socially distanced, and with masks. Additionally, we invite family and friends to participate in the live-stream available on the Johnson-Overturf Funeral Home Facebook page on Friday, October 30, at 11:00am. The service will also be recorded and available afterwards on Bess’s Book of Memories page on the funeral home website.

Memories and condolences may also be expressed to the family at Despina’s Book of Memories page at

In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to the St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church in Jacksonville, FL.

Arrangements are entrusted to Johnson-Overturf Funeral Home in Palatka.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Friday, October 30th, 2020 | 11:00am
    Friday, October 30th, 2020 11:00am
    Oak Hill Cemetery
    2900 Crill Avenue
    PALATKA, FL 32177
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Father Nicholas Louh
  • Interment

    Oak Hill Cemetery
    2900 Crill Avenue
    PALATKA, FL 32177
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Phyllis Ham

Posted at 03:01pm
My name is Phyllis Ham Despina was a dear friend if mine since the fourth grade where we attended grade school in St. Augustine Fl. We graduated together from Ketterlinus High in St. Augustine. Bess and I were close friends during that time and the friendship carried on until she passed away. So many stories and times we shared. I think of her every day and share with my family these times that are so dear to me. God bless her.

Posted at 12:55pm
Evie, Leah and Chris! So sorry to hear of the passing of your sweet mamma! No doubt in my mind that she is with the love of her life, Pappa Chris! May you all be comforted in knowing that! I loved and miss both of them very much! Please let me know if there is anything that I can do for you! With much Love! Suzy Massey

Courtney Muller

Posted at 12:07pm
Dear Leah and family of Despina. Your Mom was a beautiful lady inside and out, I've always love hearing stories about her and her amazing spirit. I will be praying for you and you family during this difficult time. Love, Courtney

Jo Turgeon

Posted at 10:55am
Dearest Despina, we had a great connection when we first met. Our love and friendship continued to grow over time to the point we felt we were sisters, including our birthdays, just two days apart! I miss our almost daily phone conversations before you left home to join Chris (another great friend and dearly loved and miss) at the store. Our time we had together will always be with me in my heart forever. ‘Til we meet again, dear sister. Love Jo and Peter XO’s


Posted at 09:04am
Dear Evie, Chris, and Leah -
I saw your mom rarely throughout the years, but here is what I know of her. She was always so easy to be with, and she gave her full attention to whomever she was with at that moment. She expressed palpable goodness and interest towards me, and I knew she wished me well. She looked right at me with kind eyes and an easy, but also tentative, smile. I always felt uplifted after a visit with your mom. I’m so sorry for your heartache and loss. May your spirits have peace.
Debie Driver
(And she rocked those lavender and pink highlights in her hair! She was a beauty.)

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