STELLA STAVROULA JATRAS
As we approach the centennial of World War I and recall the immense human and national tragedy which our Serbian forefathers endured and also remember their further suffering during World War II, our people must have often felt abandoned and forgotten. But we weren’t alone. In the darkness, there was a ray of hope. Among the women who supported, helped and defended us in World War I, we can count artist Malvina Hoffman and medical personnel Major St. Clair Stobart and Lady Leila Paget. In World War II we can name journalists Rebecca West and Ruth Mitchell. In the 1990s and beyond one name stands out prominently – Stella Stavroula Jatras. Sadly, Stella breathed her last breath on June 15, 2013. Her life among us is over, but her spirit lives on.
Stella was born in New York to Greek immigrant parents from Sparta. Sixty years ago she married George Jatras, also a son of Greek immigrant parents and a career U.S. Air Force Officer. As a career military officer’s wife, Stella lived in many countries and worked for the US government and NASA.
When the war broke out in Bosnia, Stella Jatras challenged western media bias against the Serbs and presented a more accurate view of that tragic situation. She succeeded in having her powerful, poignant letters and articles published in countless publications and the internet. Her prolific pen was a mighty sword for the truth.
Fearless in her defense of her Serbian Orthodox brethren, Stella and her family took a courageous stand while most Serbs remained silent. Stella was a fighter who made us cheer when we were being pulled down. She encouraged us not to falter, not to lose faith, that the truth would be told. For her tireless efforts, Stella was honoured by Washington DC Serbs and by the Serbian Unity Congress. In 1994 she was the honoured guest speaker at the 49th Serbian Day in Niagara Falls. She continued to speak out and set the record straight for two decades.
Stella was a devoted Orthodox and proud Greek American. As journalist Julia Gorin aptly described her: Stella was Sparta, truly worthy of her heritage.
To the large Jatras family – husband George, son Jim, daughters-in-law, grandchildren and great-grandchildren - we extend our sincere condolences and light a candle of remembrance for our beloved Stella. Serbs and Greeks have lost a grand lady and a powerful advocate and friend. Serbs owe her eternal thanks and a place of honour in our history.
Dearest Stella, we thank you, we thank you. May your memory be eternal.
Glas Kanadskih Srba/Voice of Canadian Serbs
July 25, 2013
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