Ioannis "John" Pitsavas

Ioannis "John" Pitsavas Ioannis "John" Bill Pitsavas was born in Northfield Nov. 10, 1974, to Bill and Theologia (Tsiampera) Pitsavas. He was raised in Northfield and graduated with honors from Northfield High School in 1992. He majored in chemistry and graduated from the University of Minnesota. He was currently the owner and operator of Basil’s Pizza.

Ioannis was a member of St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church, A.H.E.P.A., and a former member of the Northfield Golf Club. He enjoyed spending time with family and friends, his many trips back to Greece, swimming, fishing, hunting, golfing, reading, listening to music and chanting. He loved all things in life.

Survivors include his parents, Bill and Theologia of Northfield; his brother and sister-in-law, Dimitri and Sofia of Northfield; his sister and brother-in-law, Alexandra and Luis Wakely of Northfield; his nieces, Theologia and Athena; and many other relatives and friends in the U.S. and Greece.

Ioannis passed away Thursday morning, Sept. 6, in Lakeville, Minn., as a result of an automobile accident. He was 32.

Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 10, at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 1111 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, with Rev. Fr. Rick Andrews officiating. Interment will be in Oaklawn Cemetery, Northfield. Casket bearers will be Dino Contolatis, George Contolatis, Milam Paraschou, George Pardalos, Dimitri Patsavas and Luis Wakely. Visitation will be 5-8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9, with a Trisagion service at 7 p.m. at the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home at 201 Fourth St. E. in Northfield.

Memorials are preferred to St. George Greek Orthodox Church.

Arrangements are with the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home.

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I'll miss John. He was such

I'll miss John. He was such a sensitive, thoughtful, and smart kid.

John Pitsavas

Just heard about John Pitsavas and I just can't believe it. He was such a nice guy, always enjoyed chatting with him about NHS days and classmates when I stopped down in at Basils. He will be terribly missed.

Yianni will be missed....

Our hearts and prayers go out to the entire Pitsavas family. Yianni is loved by all that met him in Omaha NE. The conventions and our hearts will never be the same. Zoe se sas. With much agape, The Omaha Greeks!


I miss you more than anything, and my brain refuses to accept this horrible reality. I miss your big smile and those big beautiful eyes I saw everytime I walked into Basil's. I miss seeing you in your work shirt and jeans with keys jingling from your belt loop. I miss your hugs, those great big bear hugs. I miss your jokes and playing spades. You were a brother to me and now I feel lost. It was so hard for me to know that I couldn't dance with you at my wedding. God, I miss you and I feel as though a big part of me has died. I know you are in a better place and now yiayia Alexandra and Melpomeni are taking care of you, but I want you back. I would give anything to get you back. I love you Yianni and I will miss you everyday.

Yianni, you will be missed....

My condolences go out to the entire Pitsavas family. I was shocked and saddened to hear of Yianni's passing. I will always treasure the close friendship we built and the great times we shared in college. We had just recently gotten together for a few hours. I was able to introduce Yianni to my fiancee, Abigail. Later, she told me that in that brief encounter, she could tell he was a great guy and understood why I always enjoyed telling stories about our adventures together at the U of M. I regret that our busy lives have not allowed Yianni and I to get together as much as we always promised. I'm thankful that we did have that last chance to sit down and chat.

Yianni- Thank you for being one of the best friends a guy could ask for. I'll miss ya buddy.

S'agapo yia panda

My beautiful Johnny 5,

I miss you like crazy. I will love you forever and think of you often. I will share what an amazing spirit you were with your nieces as they grow. I'll let them know their Theo Yianni had a great big heart that loved everyone and made us all feel special. I tell them how you had the best set of hands I've laid eyes on--they were big and loved to help you eat--one of your favorite pasttimes. :) I'll let them know that you took care of me like I was your sister and that I felt warm and protected when you were around. My head doesn't want to accept what my heart already knows, that you are gone for now and that I won't hear your silly scratchy voice or see your beautiful face again in this life. But, I know I will see you again and that you are still watching us, still protecting us, still keeping us safe from above. S'agapo yia panda.

John, you will truly be missed

I am so saddened by the news and wish the whole Pitsavas family strength in this difficult time. John was one of the greatest guys I knew and was so lucky to have him as a friend throughout the years. I am so sad I wasn't able to see him in the past few years and see his beautiful smile, I will always remember him for the strong, passionate and kind family man he was.


To the whole Pitsavas family,

I grew up with John as you all know through Sunday school, being alter boys, goya, camp, yal, church, basketball tournaments, gatherings, hanging out, University and after and will always have a huge place in my heart for him. He was one of the happiest, loving, most non-judgmental people I have ever met and I feel privileged to have known him and all of you. His smile always lit up a room and for a bit, everything just seemed happier. I attribute much of his wonderful qualities to having such loving and kind parents and sibling and in your family, love for one another is everything. My last time with John was going down late one night with another close friend who mentioned he was going down and we all got out for a walk and John had his new hunting dog. It was a beautiful night out now that last moment will be with me always as one of my happiest memories. He was always excited to see everyone and I always felt the same way about seeing John. His remarks as I was leaving always ended in "Come down and see us more often!" Well, John was right and life gets busy with work and family life and all sorts of things, but what is life really all about if not to spend time with the family and friends that you love and care about. There is a scene in the old classic movie "Its a wonderful life" where the angel Clarence says to George Baily, "Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends." John had more friends than just about anyone I know and believe that makes him one of the most successful people at life I know as well.

I love you and I hope and pray that you know this, but I looked up to you and thought of you as a brother. You set an example for all of us and we all can learn from all the positive things about your life. Also, I will always fondly remember how after you invited me to a get-together in college, I met my now lovely wife there and am forever grateful.

May your memory be eternal
With much love,


My blessings and prayers go out to the entire Pitsavas family. John's smiling eyes, open heart, and loving spirit set an example for us all to live by. His spirit and memory will be eternally in our hearts. May peace, love, and light be with you-Liz

John Pitsavas' family in my prayers

I had the great pleasure of knowing John "Yanni" when I was a youth. Thru various church events, camp, and friendly get togethers, I can remember very fond memories in our young age. I had learned of his passing, and am saddend by the event. My prayers go out to his family, friends, and all whom he has touched while here on earth with us. May he be in peace now. May we never forget how he touched each and every life he came to know.

Prayers to the Pitsavas Family and Farewell Brother John

My prayers and condolences to the Pitsavas family. The tragic news is still spreading among John's Zeta Psi brethren. We can only sympathize and offer our support. But, know that John touched so many people in his all too brief life. It is said, "the famous are rarely significant, the significant are rarely famous." Ioannis was significant.

It was my honor to serve as Vice President of the Zeta Psi chapter at the U of M when John was initiated (he was first in his class). I see comments from his Pledge Brother Ed Koenen elsewhere, and I know their friendship was a strong one.

Being truly Greek, Ioannis was also perhaps the only member of the entire Greek System at the U who actually knew how to properly pronounce Greek--I remember well is gentle scolding on our Americanized mis-pronunciations!

John was kind and upbeat and a joy to be around. He had the biggest smile of most anyone I've ever known. The world is a poorer place without him.

There is a Zeta Psi phrase, "Forever in Tau Kappa Phi."

Forever in Tau Kappa Phi, Brother Ioannis John Pitsavas.

I'm very sorry and shocked

I'm very sorry and shocked to hear this news today. I had the good luck of seeing Johnny at a Timberwolves game a few years ago before I moved to Seattle and he was just as cool as I remembered him back in college. I wish I could be in Minnesota to offer my condolences to all the family and friends of this special guy.


John was a good friend of mine. We met each other our first year at the U of M, and joined the fraternity around the same time in 1992.

Even though it has been many years since we last talked, I still remember how intelligent, warm and charismatic he was.

My condolences go out to his family and friends.

Remembering John

I have known Jnohn for many years. I have had the pleasure of being his friend and the oppertunity to work in his store. I feel very fortunate to have a wealth of awesome memmories that will never fade. I will really miss all the late sumer nights on the deck, the trivial pursuit games, going to Twins games, hanging out after work with the crew, and walking in to Basil's and seeing John working the oven. John will be dearly missed. My most sincere condolences are offered to the Pitsavas family and all of his friends and loved ones.
John, you will always live on in our hearts and memories.

Words about John

My condolences for John's family and friends.

I'm really at a loss for words to describe my feelings. I've been thinking about John every free moment this week. I just don't know what to say or think.

John was a good friend and pledge brother whom I will never forget. He shared his culture and his life with all of us. The last time I saw him he was looking very fit and full of energy. I hasn't really sunk in that I won't see him again.

Farewell brother John.

Dear Pitsaves family, I just

Dear Pitsaves family,

I just heard the news. I just cant believe this happened. I have not seen John in ten years and yet time doesnt change how much he impacted me or other friends that grew up with him. In the years growing up at camp with John I remember how completley sincere and genuine he was. He was full of love and happiness and if he approached you, he always had a smle for you. A truly beautfiul soul. I wish you all my condolences. The beauty of John's spirit is that his is one that will fiercely live on through his family and friends. His impact was enormous, far reaching . When I think of John, I think of God's child.

With love,
Christina Vasilatos Ballester

He will be missed greatly!!

George from Missouri:
John will be missed greatly. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family and friends. He was a great friend and family member that was always full of laughter and smiles. It is a great tragedy and he will always be remembered and missed!!!


We were sincerely saddened to hear about the loss of such a great guy. Our memories of John are all filled with smiles. His laughter was contagious and his way of treating people was something we all could strive to emmulate.

My wife and I both have a special place in our heart for John. Rita was smitten with John and dated him for a short time (back in college) before we started dating. She has fond memories of what a gentleman he was, even at a young age. I was drawn to his irresistible charisma and general approach to life. All of the guys and girls in college thought the world of John.

A couple of "road-trips" stand out as special memories with John. We went to West Lafayette, Indiana, for a Purdue vs. MN football game and had a great time. The friends on that trip will always remember what a time we had! Another event, we drove to Lincoln, Nebraska, for a fraternity retreat. John was a big hit, there, also! We were so blest to have been graced by his presence for the time we had with him in college.

He was so proud of his family and his Greek heritage. He talked about his amazing trips back to Greece, and that was a big reason why we went to Greece on our honeymoon back in '97. He shared his family place (and Basil's) a couple times on trips to Northfield. His eyes really lit up when he talked about his upbringing. We really feel for the Pitsavas family and all of his close friends during this time. We will keep you in our prayers.

Yianni, you will be missed by so many.

With Love,
Todd and Rita Klement

Yanni When I received word

When I received word that you were gone my heart ached.
I kept hearing over and over and over again.
Yanni is gone .....Yanni is gone
You were my nephew, my friend, my fishing and hunting partner.
Sometimes we had so much in commom, sometimes we had little in
commom but we always liked being together.
Even though I was twice your age....I learned from you and you
learned from me.
20 years ago I lost my young brother at age 42. At that time he
was my friend, my fishing and hunting partner. I thought my world
had ended when he left me.
Then.... God gave me you. You grew up and walked in his shoes.
you loved so many of the same things that he loved and in a way
you replaced him. AND NOW YOU ARE GONE.
It could take hours, days, weeks and maybe months to recall and tell
all of the good memories that keep coming...but the bottom line is
you were a very special young man and I lost alot when you left us.
I will never forget you and all of your kind ways.
I believe that you left this world too soon. You had so much to do.
I know now, for sure that the good die young. God needed you NOW!
You will live on in my heart, thoughts and memories forever.
I will always love you, (uncle) Theo Niko

We love you, Yianni

Our hearts continue to ache knowing that a piece of us has been taken away and has stayed with you Yianni forever. But we know that piece of each and every one of us is in good hands knowing that it is with you in a bigger, better, more glorious place beyond our imaginations. You've led the example of how we should love one another, appreciate each and every day what God has given us, and to thank Him for giving us another opportunity to carry on and continue to lead what you have shown us, Yianni. We love you so much and miss you so dearly that our minds cannot comprehend the incomprehensible that while your earthly presence is not visible, you are so clear, so vivid, so beautiful in our minds, our hearts, our dreams, and our souls, and therefore Yianni, you continue to live and carry on the life in which you taught us to be open, caring, loving, non-judgmental, and listening through each and every one of us. You have shown us the way, and continue to show us the way, and it gives us so much comfort knowing that you are with us, you are in better hands, you are in peace, and you are looking upon us. We won't forget you Yianni, and we will always love you. S'agapame toso polu, me oloi thn kardia kai pote den tha se ksexasoume. Pantote tha se skeftomase mexri tin hmera pou tha ksane eidothoume mazi.

my angel

It has been over four months since you've left.. This is the first time I've laid my eyes on all these beautiful memories,thoughts and prayers that are dedicated to you Yianni mou. So much love for such a LARGE HEART. The hours and minutes of my life have changed forever.
You are the greatest spirit I have ever known John, what do I do without you? Since I can remember, I have had YOU to look up to, YOU to imitate, YOU to listen to, YOU to travel with, YOU to have a cup of coffee with, YOU to turn to, YOU to laugh with, YOU to cry with,
YOU to grow with, YOU to share the moments with, YOU who understood me, YOU who TRULY loved me, You who ALWAYS knew me, you who possessed the purest heart, YOU who endlessly gave the SWEETEST LOVE I have ever felt. I MISS YOU YIANNAKI MOU, to xes afto?
I see you and feel you everywhere! You have given my little heart an eternal amount of love throughout my entire life...Love like this lasts forever, Love like this will bring us together again. I'll never let go of your hand Yianni, I'll always stay close to your heart sweetheart, I promise to keep your spirit alive as long as I live, I vow to share each and every moment of the rest of my life with you too ("Louie is going to have to share you", remember?) John,you made my life EXTRAORDINARY, you filled my heart and soul in ways only you could master. From our youngest years to our recent years YOU YIANNI were my hero, my greatest friend, my most loving brother and sister too, my most favorite person I have ever known. You are my one and only Dzianni.
If God grants Louie and I children they will know you my brother, they will hear about their uncle's charms and wits, brilliance and humility, innocence and kindness, strength and honor, laughter and sense of humor, and all that I have been blessed to have and hold from you. They will feel their proud and honorable uncle's spirit and love...they will carry your name to pass on for years to come.
For ALL THE LOVE Yianni, I thank you, for all the memories I will treasure, for all your wisdom I will share and pass along life's pathways to those I've known and have yet to know, FOR ALL THE HEART- I promise- We will be together again, Love lives forever

S'agapo aperanta aggelouthi mou
n athelfoula sou


Yianni had an amazing smile...

"Well done good and faithful servant...enter into the joy of your master" (Matthew 25:23)

I have know Johnny Pitsavas practically my entire life, ever since he and his family moved here from Greece many, many years ago. We met through church, and were actively involved with Joy, GOYA, YAL, Basketball Tournaments, etc. My family grew very close with his family. We spent many Christmases and Thanksgivings together. When my parents would mention, after church on a Sunday, that we were headed to Northfield for the day, I could hardly contain my excitement! I loved John and his entire family. We were all just so close. Going to Northfield was the highlight of my week. Me, my brother (Fr. George), Jim, John, and Aleka had the best times together, and the best games. We would play hide and go seek in the town of Northfield and spend hours trying to find one another. I remember one time I accidentally bent the antenna on Johnny's brand new walkie talkie. Sorry, Johnny. Forgive me! And those Blizzards from Dairy Queen? Who could ever forget those. John always knew exactly what kind of pizza I wanted. It never changed, and no one could make my pizza like Yianni.

John was truly a great guy with a huge heart and a wonderful soul. Whenever I would visit, I would see him through the window making a pizza, and the smile that he would give me was the best smile anyone could ask for. His smile seemed to say, "Wow! There is no one I'd rather see at this moment but you!" And Yianni's hugs could sustain me for a whole week! He gave the best hugs. Yianni just made everyone feel so special. He had an incredibly witty sense of he made me laugh. John had a gift of making you feel loved. He was a very handsome man...just a beautiful man, both inside and out.

I have lived in Chicago for over 5 years now. Sad to say, it has probably been about 2 years since I last saw Yianni. Living away from MN has made it hard to keep in touch. I am sorry that I did not have a chance to spend time with him more often...I am sorry I did not get to see him before his passing. The news of his death saddened me beyond words, and his funeral was the most difficult one I have endured in my life.

But because of who Johnny is, I cannot remain sad. It goes without saying that he will be sorely missed by me, his family and all of his friends. However, we can take comfort in knowing that Christ died for our sins...that Christ has given us the hope of the Resurrection. Johnny has been resurrected in the Lord, and I know he is up there shining...illumined by the Holy Spirit. He is happier than we will ever realize. His happiness is beyond our human comprehension. He is home now.

I pray that God will grant all of you who are mourning the loss of this amazing man. Panagia mazi sas, and may Yianni's memory be forever eternal!

I love you John,

I Miss You

I feel the need to express my feelings.
The world is not the same without John.
For some reason - I expected that he would always be there.
And now he's not.
And the world is different.
Although I rarely saw him - he was always in my heart....and always will be.

Love you and miss you lots
See you later, for sure

Love, Lisa