Leona Papoulas: 1905-2005

Leona Papoulas, longtime resident of Moffat County, died at her home in Craig on Dec. 19, 2005. She was 100.

In September, Papoulas celebrated her 100th birthday in Craig at a gala party attended by more than 250 family members and friends.

Papoulas was preceded in death by her husband, John, a sheep rancher, and by her son James and daughter Mary.

She was born in Black Rock, Greece, in 1905 and emigrated to the United States with her parents when she was 8 years old. The family passed through Ellis Island and settled in Carbon County, Utah, south of Salt Lake City. There, she met and married John in 1923.

The Papoulas family later moved to Vernal, Utah, and finally settled in Craig in 1939. The family operated a ranch near Oak Creek and wintered their sheep near Dinosaur on the Colorado-Utah border. She was at her husband's side all through the ranching years, until his death in 1966.

Papoulas was a popular figure locally and had a host of friends in various parts of the United States, with whom she kept in touch by telephone and through numerous handwritten notes and letters. She traveled widely in the United States and abroad.

She was a devoted member of the Greek Orthodox Church. She retained the culture and practices of her Greek origins but was American to the core, family and friends say. She loved country music and was a fan of TV game shows and soap operas.

She was a renowned cook and was known especially for the bread she baked and shared with her family and friends.

Papoulas is survived by daughters her Angie Knoche, of Denver, and Katherine Astin, of Salt Lake City, and by 10 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.

A funeral for Papoulas was held at the Greek Orthodox Church in Craig on Dec. 23. Burial was in the Craig cemetery.

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