Joanna's Story

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Joanna “Ann” Thanos Lavrakas, 91, died on Sunday, July 31, 2016, with her son, Jim Lavrakas, at her side.
Ann was born in Gloucester, Mass., on June 23, 1925, to James “Jimmy” and Maria Thanos.
She is survived by children, Jim Lavrakas and his wife, Ruth of Homer, Robert Lavrakas of Roswell, N.M., Faye Lavrakas of Monterey, Calif., and Dimitra Lavrakas, recently of Gloucester; grandchildren, Alissa and Ben Wilkinson, and son, Jacob, of San Bernadino, Calif., Alexios Rosario-Moore and his wife, Editha of Joliet, Ill., and Gabe and Nick Lavrakas of Anchorage, Alaska.
She grew up at 47 Centennial Ave. in Gloucester in the house her father built and summered in a cottage he built on Long Beach. Her father co-owned The Busy Bee Restaurant in downtown Gloucester with Peter Grammas and the Essex Golf Club with Jimmy Stavros.
She attended Gloucester High School, graduating in 1942, and from Endicott College in 1944. On Feb. 3, 1945, she married Vasilis “Babe” Lavrakas.
She was a lab tech at Lowell General Hospital, but should have been a doctor as her response to cuts, bruises and gashes was sure and steady as her children dragged themselves home for first aid.
An inexperienced cook, she graduated from spaghetti sauce that looked like brain matter to the heights of culinary accomplishment, a skill passed to her daughters as soon as they could stand on a chair at a counter.
An excellent knitter, she could look at an Erin Isle sweater and reproduce it without a pattern. When her children were little, she made their clothes.
She was at times whimsical, especially after a few glasses of wine, like the time she broke into an impromptu Greek dance high in the Swiss Alps during a road trip.
Tragically, in 2009, Ann lost her sight to temporal arteritis, a rare autoimmune disease. Four months later, Babe died.
Ann, like her husband, will be cremated and her ashes released into their favorite halibut fishing hole after a memorial service on the water.
Published on  August 2, 2016
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