AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – James W. “Dr. K” Kiriazis, 85, passed away peacefully at his residence, Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
He was born March 12, 1928, in Weirton, West Virginia, the son of William and Mary Nicholas Kiriazis.
Dr. Kiriazis was a 1945 graduate of Warren G. Harding High School, Warren, Ohio and a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving with the 82nd Airborne Division; 504th Parachute Regiment, qualifying as a parachutist and gliderman.
James married his wife, Isabel (Fernandez) on Sept. 4, 1948.
He attended The Ohio State University, Youngstown State University, Louisiana State University, and the University of Pittsburgh, with a Master’s degree in psychiatric social work and anthropology, and a Doctorate degree in anthropology
His work experience included mental health work with the Veteran’s Administration Hospitals in North Little Rock, Arkansas, and Chillicothe, Ohio, and later with the state clinics in Warren and Youngstown, Ohio.
Dr. Kiriazis taught part-time at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh, and began his teaching career at Youngstown State University in 1957.
In 1962, he became a full-time faculty member at YSU, where he served as chairman and professor of the Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work Department from 1968 to 1990. During this time, he initiated the programs and majors in Social Work, Anthropology, Social Services Tech, and a minor in Gerontology. “Dr. K” continued teaching anthropology until the end of 2006, marking his 50 years as a professor at YSU.
“Dr. K” was a charter member of the medical school committee, and since its founding served as Research Professor of the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine in the Division of Community Health Sciences, Department of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology.
He was a part-time member of the faculty at the medical school for 25 years.
Dr. Kiriazis served on many boards and committees, most notably in 1978, when he was appointed by the Ohio Senate and Governor Rhodes to serve on the Joint Mental Health and Mental Retardation Commission. In 1984, he was appointed by Governor Celeste to serve on the newly formed Counselor and Social Work Licensing Board. He was later issued License Number 1 in the State of Ohio.
“Dr. K” also served on the committee that prepared the report for the Adolescent Psychiatric Clinic of the WRCS (Forum Health), and later was chairman of the Capitol Projects Committee (Columbus) that approved the clinic.
“Dr. K” was a member of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, American Anthropological Association, Ohio Academy of Sciences, Parkview Counseling Board, Austintown Zoning Commission, the Psychiatric Board of WRCS, AHEPA, the Pan-Rhodian Society, and the Campbell Commission on International Affairs.
He also Co-produced the Hellenic Programs on WKTL-FM Radio for 28 years.
For several years, Dr. Kiriazis served with the Ohio Network of Educational Consultants to the Commission on Aging, was in charge of selecting the winners of graduate student research for the Ohio Research Council on Aging, and was the liaison representative for YSU and the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.
In 1994, he was selected to a Geriatric-Gerontology Council to determine state allocations to the Area Agencies on Aging. “Dr. K” served on many scholarship committees in gerontology, mental health, ethnic factors and anthropology.
As a professor, Dr. Kiriazis was noted for producing many fine students. At a conference with the internationally famous anthropologists, Margaret Mead and George Murdock, they cited “Dr. K” for producing some of the best students in their field (both spoke at YSU).
In 1999, “Dr. K” was inducted into Warren G. Harding High School’s Hall of Fame. During the same year, he was also selected as Gerontologist of the Year for the State of Ohio.
He received several awards as Distinguished Professor (including the Watson Award), the Edna McDonald Cultural Awareness Award, Orthodox Man of the Year, NASW (National Association of Social Workers) Lifetime Achievement Award, and was listed in the Hellenic Who’s Who. Dr. Kiriazis was named on of the Distinguished Men of Science, was a recipient of a National Science Foundation Award, and listed in Who’s Who in the Midwest.
In 2009, some of his colleagues and former students joined together to form a scholarship in gerontology bearing his name.
Dr. Kiriazis’ research was in the fields of mental health, gerontology, and anthropology, and included field trip studies in peasant societies and changing cultures, primarily on the Island of Rhodes in the Aegean Sea, Doecanese Islands, Spain and the Middle East.
He was fluent in several languages and wrote articles and books that were published.
His major work was a book he wrote titled “Children of the Colossus.”
“Dr. K” and his wife, Isabel, traveled extensively to Canada, Alaska, Mexico, Italy, the Caribbean, the Island of Rhodes, Spain, the Middle East, and to their second home in Tarpon Springs, Fla.
James will be dearly missed by his loving wife of 64 years, Isabel; his son, James A. of Austintown, Ohio; three daughters, Karen D., Lisa R., and Laura Y., all of Youngstown, Ohio; five grandchildren, Yvonne, Alia, James R., Natalie and Rachel; a great-granddaughter, Penelope; and three brothers, Michael of St. Clair Shores, Mich., George of Macomb, Michigan and William of East Hampton, Long Island, N.Y.
Besides his parents, James was preceded in death by his brother, Samuel Kiriazis.
Family and friends will be received from 4 to 7 p.m. on Monday, July 15, 2013, at the Lane Family Funeral Homes, Austintown Chapel.
Funeral services will be Tuesday, July 16, 2013, at 10 a.m. at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Youngstown, OH.
Arrangements are entrusted to the Lane Family Funeral Homes, Austintown Chapel.
Family and friends can visit www.lanefuneralhomes
Mahoning County, Ohio