Born: November 15, 1933 - Deceased: April 18, 2023
Dino “Gus” Kassaros, 89, of O’Fallon, IL, passed away on April 18, 2023 surrounded by his loved ones.
Dino was born on November 15, 1933 to Stergios and Elena Kassaros in Metsovo, Greece.
At 19 years old, he came to live in the United States under the loving care of his Uncle Jim and Aunt Ouronia Kassaros, of St. Louis, MO where he went to work at the Sheraton Hotel and later went on to join the United States Army.
Upon his return from Germany and leaving the military, he returned to life in the hospitality industry at the Sheraton working in public relations. He ultimately became a member of the IBEW Local 309 where he spent the next 32 years as a lineman and a foreman erecting many of the power lines you see across the midwest, and beyond. He was always quick to point them out anytime he had your attention in the car. He was extremely passionate and proud of all that he accomplished in his work and business without a formal education. We were pretty proud of him too!
In 1969 he met his best friend and the love of his life, Dorothy, whom he married on September 4, 1971. The family settled in O’Fallon city limits, and later, on the outskirts of town where Gus was blessed with a home in need of a facelift, acreage to mow, fruit and nut trees to care for, and lots of space for a garden and flowers – and great big garage to tinker in!
After “retiring” in 2000, there was no way this hardworking “Mr. Fix It” would sit by with idle hands. On top of many family projects he assisted with (because everyone knew “if Gus can’t fix it, no one can”) he opened his own gutter cover business while also operating a mobile home park. Finally calling it quits at the ripe old age of 85 he still enjoyed his gardening and taking a spin on his Grasshopper mower – a favorite of every grandkid when they came to visit.
Gus was an avid cook and loved to feed everyone who walked in the door. Luckily for all he was such a great cook, especially the Greek food. You didn’t have a choice whether you wanted to try his latest dish or not, you at least had to give it a taste. Though he did have mercy if you weren’t into the strange items boiling in the pot on the stove – who eats dandelion greens,tripe, or brains?! He loved to turn up the grill, throw on some steaks, and tend to it all afternoon.
Gus loved watching boxing, from the days of “real” boxing when everyone in the room had to be totally quiet while he watched the likes of the heavyweight champs, Muhammad Ali or George Foreman to his final days of watching replays of Friday Night Smackdown.
And the stories… The man had some stories! He loved to talk about the old days.
Gus never met a dog he didn’t (eventually) like. In fact, his kids brought home lots of dogs they were told they couldn’t have that always ended up becoming “his” dog and getting rid of them was unheard of. His faithful companion, Riley, stood guard during his time in hospice. We have no doubt when he arrived at the Gates of Heaven he was met by lots of wagging tails waiting for him to drop some table scraps their way.
Most of all, Gus had an unwavering love for his family. It was his proudest accomplishment. He would move mountains for anyone, and he often did. He was a giver and always put others’ needs before his own.
Rest assured, Dad, you instilled in each of us how to work hard, play hard, how to give, how to love… to never give up… how to use power tools, how to fix cars, and the confidence to know we could fix anything if we were creative enough in our thinking.
Dino is preceded in death by: his parents, Stergion and Elena Kassaros; brothers Nick, John, and Philiko Kassaros; uncle, James Kassaros; aunts, Ourania Kassaros and Athena Pailas; mother-in-law Opal Miller; sisters-in-law, Aphrodite Kassaros and Betty Hays; brother-in-law, Carl Hays; grandson, Donny Bristoe; niece, Stephanie Hays; great niece, Lindsay White; great nephew, Noah Hays; and, great grandson, Cartier Grant.
Dino is survived by his wife of 52 years, Dorothy (Hays). His children – Fred Grueber (Laura) of Collinsville, IL; Donna Rainey (Bill) of Benton, KY; Elaine Sauer (Joel) of Chicago, IL; Jon Kassaros (Lora) of St. Charles, IL; Kelly Poelker (Randy) of O’Fallon, IL; and Jamey Johnson (Randy) of Bolingbrook, IL; Sister-in-Law Earline Oliver (Rick) of Swansea, IL; Brother-In-Law James Hays (Diane) of Pittsburgh, PA; Grandchildren – Amy Ogunjobi of Collinsville, IL; Sara Kaemmerlen of Collinsville, IL; Haley Finnegan (Josh) of Arnold, MO; Zach Bristoe of Ellettsville, IN; Kelsey Poelker of Louisville, KY; Kory Poelker of O’Fallon, IL; Dane Sauer (Kat ) of Austin, TX; Grant Sauer of West Chicago, IL; Austin Kassaros of Naperville, IL; Wes Kassaros of Elmhurst, IL; Madison Kassaros of South Elm, IL; Melissa Hoye of Naperville, IL; Kristin Baltazor of Tuscon, AZ; Alexis Knight of Bolingbrook, IL; and, Allyson Knight of Streeter, IL. Many nieces and nephews, great grandchildren, great great grandchildren, and his beloved family in Metsovo, Greece.
Memorial Contributions: Memorial Contributions may be made to Hospice of Southern Illinois; Orange North Team or First Baptist Church in Fairview Heights, IL.
Visitation: Saturday, April 22, 2023, from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm at Kurrus Funeral Home in Belleville, IL.
Funeral: A Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, April 22, 2023 at 1:00 pm at Kurrus Funeral Home in Belleville, IL with Pastor Scott Douglas officiating. Interment will follow at Lake View Cemetery in Fairview Heights, IL.
A video Live-Stream of the service may be viewed starting at 12:55 pm at www.kurrusfh.com/live-stream