It is with profound sadness that we report the passing of longtime NHIBT chairman and dear friend of WindyCity Greek, Mr. Phil Bouzeos. He was 96.
Remembering Phil Bouzeos
After 96 years of living a blessed life and deeply loved by family and friends, Phil Bouzeos passed away peacefully on January 19. He will be remembered for his cheerful, outgoing, and generous spirit; his devotion to the Greek-American community; his great friendships at Riverside Country Club; and his love of all Chicago sports.
The son of Greek immigrants Peter and Diana, Philip P. Bouzeos traced his Greeks to Vervena and Astros in Arcadia. He grew up in the Austin neighborhood where his uncles and father ran a grocery store. His parents were founding members of the nearby Assumption Church. The family included three other siblings, Tom, Mary, and Vasiliki. Phil outlived them all.
He attended Spencer Elementary School, Plato Greek School, and Austin High School. At Austin, he was equipment manager for the football team. That was the start of his sports career.
Career in sports
Phil was on the sidelines in 1937 when Austin High School played at Soldier Field in front of 120,000 fans — an attendance record for a high school game that still stands.
In 1941, he enrolled in Carroll College and played tight end on the football team. World War II intervened and he served in the Army in 1942-43, stationed in California. He returned to graduate from Carroll in 1947.
That year, Phil landed a dream job as equipment manager for the NFL Chicago Cardinals. Over the next 11 years, he established lifelong friendships with players Charley Trippi and Elmer Angsman. The Cardinals won the NFL Championship in 1947. In 1997, with the backing of the Bidwell family, Phil organized the 50th Anniversary of that victory at Sportsman’s Park in Chicago. There, he received an NFL Championship ring.
In 1950, Phil started his long, respected career in sales with Champion Products and was a top salesman for 41 years, developing close friendships with athletic directors and coaches throughout Illinois and neighboring states.
Phil had a lifelong involvement with the National Hellenic Invitational Basketball Tournament (NHIBT), which was founded in 1931. He was as a player, coach, and served as president for more than 75 years. Each year in the Spring, more than 40 teams from around the country continue to gather in Chicago for spirited competition.
In 1968, he started the Greek Orthodox Basketball League among Chicago’s churches, involving hundreds of players each year. In the 1970s, he also worked with AHEPA to send All-Star teams to Greece. He established the AHEPA Phil Bouzeos Scholarship for Chicago area high school male and female athlete of the year. Throughout the years, thousands of young men and women have played basketball on church youth teams, in high school, college, and professionally in Greece, due to his commitment, tireless hours of work, and love of the sport and the Greek community.
For his efforts, Phil was honored with induction in the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame, the NHIBT Hall of Fame, the AHEPA Hall of Fame and the Chicago Catholic League Hall of Fame.
A member of Riverside Country Club for 53 years, Phil was known as “The Organizer”, and was instrumental in planning and participating in many social events. These included chairing the dedication of the new club house; co-founding the Junior Golf District League; serving as president of the District Senior League for many years; and establishing the annual Fenwick vs. The World golf tournament known as “The Phil Bouzeos Classic”.
Beloved patriarch, friend
He is survived by his devoted wife of 63 years, Lynne; and his adult children, Dean (Betty); Dawn (Kirk McCormick); and Darcy. Phil was a caring, supportive grandfather (Papouli) to Deborah and Susanna Bouzeos; and Kendra, Kylie, and Jason McCormick. He was a beloved uncle to Renee, Connie, Diane, Kathy, Peter, Gina, Charles, Craig, Chris, and Cary. He was preceded in death by siblings and his parents.
Phil was respected and cherished by all who knew him. He placed his faith and trust in Jesus for his salvation and the promise of eternal life. His family is comforted by so many recent expressions of love and support, and is at peace knowing Phil is at home with Jesus.
Graveside services will be private. Friends and family are invited to a memorial service to celebrate the life of Phil Bouzeos on Saturday, February 4 at 10:00 am, at Christ Church of Oak Brook, 501 Oak Brook Road, Oak Brook, IL.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the NHIBT, memo: AHEPA Phil Bouzeos Scholarship Fund, 2001 S. Meyers Road, #302, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181.
Courtesy: The Family of Philip P. Bouzeos
Editor’s note: Mr. Bouzeos was an early supporter and staunch advocate of this publication. We’re proud to call him friend. Phil Bouzeos was a bright light in our community. He was one of a kind, and will be missed. Our sincerest condolences to the Bouzeos family. Thanks Mr. B. for all your encouragement and support. May your memory be eternal.