Maria Vassiliou was born on October 10, 1934, in Athens, Greece to Christos Vassiliou and Anastasia Vassiliou. She passed from this life on Thursday, February 1, 2024, at her home in Owasso, Oklahoma at the age of 89 years. Maria was raised and educated first on the island of Mytilene in Greece and then in Athens where she graduated from High School in 1953. In 1961 she married her first husband, Stelios Zacharopoulos, and in 1963 birthed her first child Christos. In 1965, she moved to the United States with them where her daughter, Loretta was born in 1966 in Chicago. The family moved to Queens, New York in 1967 when she got a job working for the Greek Mission to the United Nations. While working full time and raising her children, she furthered her education by earning a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University in NYC, New York, and a masters degree from New York University in NYC. Maria devoted her life to fighting for and defending human rights. She started as a Human Rights Expert working for decades for the Greek Mission to the United Nations, representing Greece on the 3rd committee of the UN in NYC. In 1991, she was chosen to serve as first assistant to the High Commissioner of Human RIghts to the United Nations and moved to Geneva, Switzerland. In 1996, she “retired” to Greece where she started and ran her own Non-Governmental Organization for over 20 years “The Human Rights Defense Center.” In these years, she helped many Greeks (both children with anti-bullying work and adults), many people in Balkan countries, including Cypriot prisoners in Turkey, girls and women who were trafficked all through Europe and so many others. She was married on July 8, 1993, in Geneva, Switzerland to Harry Psomiades, the love of her life. In her spare time, Maria loved spending time with her children, and then her grandchildren, as well as various pastimes such as swimming, playing tennis, reading, and most of all helping others.
She is survived by:
Loretta Anastasia Zacharopoulos Farrell
Her greatest devastation was the loss of her son Chris Zacharopoulos, at the age of 26, in December 1989.
Michael Christos Farrell
Joshua Thomas Farrell
Anastasia Zoe Farrell
Constance “Toto” Tagopoulos
She was preceded in death by her parents, Christos and Anastasia Vassiliou, her son Christos Zacharopoulos and her husband, Harry Psomiades.
A visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 6, 2024. Funeral service will be held 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 7, 2024. Both the visitation and the funeral service will be in the Mowery Funeral Service Chapel.