Peter K. Paskalis, 86, of Shrewsbury

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Peter K. PaskalisShrewsbury – Peter K. “Pete” Paskalis, 86, passed away at his home on Friday, April 14, 2023, with his family by his side.

Peter was born on March 18, 1937, to Greek immigrants Kosta and Anastasia (Pappas) Paskalis and was the oldest of five children. At an early age, Pete learned the value of hard-work and developed his lifelong love of food. As a young boy, he could be found caddying at a local golf club or working at his father’s Worcester restaurant, Stuart’s Diner. Following his 1956 graduation from Commerce High School, he attended the famed Culinary Institute of America with his best friend Johnny Kavarous. Armed with his degree in Basic Restaurant Trades, Pete began cooking in restaurants up and down the east coast working his way up from line cook to sous chef and finally executive chef.

However, Pete also had a love of country and in 1960 enlisted in the United States Army and served in Germany as a cook until his honorable discharge as a Sgt. in 1963. Years later, he would still make himself “SOS” for breakfast as he did for the troops in Germany. At 26, he opened his very first pizza shop—Highway Pizzaria—in Holden with his brother Steve (Steve’s Pizza) and another partner before setting out on his own and establishing his own business on January 5, 1965–the Shrewsbury Pizzaria, which he operated for almost 50 years until his retirement at 77. He believed that he had cooked over a million pizzas during this time. Pete was not great with names instead he remembered his customers by the type of grinder or pizza they routinely ordered.

The summer before the “pizza store” opened, Pete met his wife of 57 years on a trip to Toronto, Canada. Bessie was from the beautiful beach town of Wilmington, North Carolina. After a handful of long-distance dates, she traded in her bathing suits for snow boots, the couple married in May of 1965 and began their life together in Shrewsbury. Pete told his daughters that he loved going to work and attributed his success to his loyal customers, the people who worked with him and his wife Bessie.

Pete loved his New England sports teams and sponsored a Shrewsbury Little League Team. He was an avid golfer and member of Pleasant Valley Country Club and Wachusett Country Club. Once he became a grandfather in 2002, he and his wife spent winter months in Lauderdale by the Sea, FL visiting his youngest daughter and much-loved grandsons Connor and Brian. Those boys were his pride and joy and he loved nothing more than attending their baseball and soccer games. Once he retired, he spent as much time as he could in Florida with his wife and grandsons.

Pete embraced his Greek heritage and loved to listen to Greek music while working and leading a Greek line dance. He was a member of the Order of AHEPA and Saint Spyridon’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

He leaves behind his beloved wife of 57 years Bessie (Andrews) Paskalis; his two daughters who loved him unconditionally, Anne Marie Paskalis of Shrewsbury, formerly of Washington, DC and Cynthia (Paskalis) Batchelder of Fort Lauderdale, FL; his grandsons Connor and Brian of Fort Lauderdale, FL; his brothers Steve (wife Beverly) of Jupiter, FL, Stewart of Worcester and the late Thomas Paskalis of Worcester and a sister Maria Zekos of Holden; his brothers in law George (wife Georgia) Andrews, the late Andrew Andrews and Peter Andrews all of Charlotte, NC along with many nieces and nephews.

The Paskalis Family would like to thank Ann, Melinda and Kathy from Salmon Hospice for the special care they provided Pete and to his aides and the staff at the Residence at Orchard Hill for their kindness.

Friends and family are invited to attend calling hours on Thursday, April 20th from 4 to 7 pm at Britton-Shrewsbury Funeral Home, 648 Main Street, Shrewsbury. A funeral service will be held at 11 am on Friday, April 21st at St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 102 Russel St., Worcester with the Rev. Fr. Christopher Stamas officiating. Burial will follow at Mountain View Cemetery in Shrewsbury.

In lieu of Flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 102 Russell Street, Worcester, MA 01609.

MAY HIS MEMORY BE ETERNAL

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