Sotery “Sam” Zulia passed away peacefully in his sleep on February 10 after a ninety five year journey of hard work, high adventure, and deep love. He was born in Lockport New York on December 4, 1925. On January 12, 2021, he began his seventy-fifth year as a devoted and loving husband to Anna Tourlakis Zulia. Together they built a family on a foundation of love, with son Michael and his wife Joanne Gouskos Zulia; daughter Katherine “Cookie” and her partner Kathryn Nicolai, and son Ernie. He was so proud of his three grandchildren and their partners, Eleni Zulia and Amanda Davis; Anna Maria Zulia and Anna Gesing; and Sam Zulia and Nate Channel. He delighted in the arrival of three great grandchildren; Beatrice, Josephine and Theodore Michael. Sam carried on lasting and loving relationships with sisters Aspasia Mellas, and Sophie Georgiadis. He is predeceased by his twin brother, and best friend Simon “Slim” Zulia, big brother and fellow adventurer John Zulia, beloved sister Katherine Scordalakis, and parents Ergina and Anastasi Zulia who immigrated from Melos Greece, and planted the seeds of an enduring and loving family. On January 31, his beloved son Michael passed away from multiple myeloma. Since they did everything together on earth, it’s not hard to understand why they chose to embark on this next great journey side by side.
Above everything, Sam cherished his family, and proudly held the title of “Patriarch” of the Zulia clan, which currently includes 138 members across the country. He was dearly loved by them all, and his greatest joy was celebrating with them at family reunions, along with every special occasion on the calendar.
A member of the “Greatest Generation,” Sam was a proud veteran of WWII, and a valiant member of the US Navy where he earned the rank of Petty officer Third Class. He served as a radioman on the Destroyer Escort-USS Gandy, and safely escorted American cargo and battle ships across the perilous North Atlantic and South Pacific. This interrupted his high school education, but thanks to a special program by the military, he joined WWII veterans across the country to receive an honorary diploma 50 years later. The best part of the affair was that he proudly posed in cap and gown at Wadsworth High School’s graduation alongside his fellow graduate, grandson Sam.
After the war, Sotery moved to Akron, Ohio to marry Anna, his first and only love. He happily worked for his father-in-law, Mike Tourlakis, at “Milos Lunch” on Case Avenue, while waiting to begin a family. Deciding that serving blue plate specials and washing dishes wasn’t for him, he graduated from the New York School of Photography in 1950. After a brief stint as a professional photographer, he founded Allied Microfilm Corporation, which he ran for thirty years, and continued as chairman of the board for another twenty-five. Allied became the largest provider of microfilming services to hospitals throughout Ohio. It was a true family business which he ran side by side with his son Michael. Along with sister Sophie, son Ernie, daughter Cookie, multiple nieces and nephews and hundreds of talented and devoted employees, he built a flourishing business. He turned over the presidency to Michael in 1983, and proudly watched the company become Allied Infotech, expanding into records storage and shredding. He was thrilled to witness his grandson and namesake, Sam, take the helm as the third generation. He proudly joined other business professionals as a dedicated member of the Rotary Club, and was always happy to share stories of his earliest days in business, when he and his brothers worked for their father as shoe shine boys during the Great Depression.
Sam was a loving Christian and devout member of Akron’s Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, where he was a founding member of the Men’s Club, and served as president of the board of directors. Ever the adventurer, he headed into the skies and became a private pilot. His enthusiasm prompted him to build a unique geodesic dome home at the flying community, Skypark, in Wadsworth Ohio, where he and Anna lived for twenty-five years. He loved being able to taxi down the street and up his driveway, and into his own hangar, (which doubled as a part-time party center, where he could host joyous gatherings of family and friends). Further adventures took them to Scottsdale, Arizona, where he became a member of the Scottsdale Police Force as a proud volunteer. For twelve years he and Anna enjoyed sunshine and friendship, before returning to Wadsworth and happily making their home at the Village of St Edward where they embraced a whole new family of friends. His last adventure took him and Anna to live in Roanoke Virginia with Ernie, and the guy who never knew a stranger quickly formed new enduring friendships.
Sam enjoyed a reputation as an honest and trust worthy man. But above everything else, he was one of the most positive and optimistic guys you could ever hope to meet. He tackled every challenge with a great attitude, believed in the power of family and friendship, had a warm sense of humor, and when asked “how ya doin, Sam?” he’d flash his hallmark grin and proclaim: “Two thumbs up!”
When Sam was born, he was not expected to live, but he defied all odds and became a great lover of life all the way into his 96th year! He shined a bright light on the world, and that light will continue to glow in the hearts of all who knew him. Shine on Sam!
Due to COVID restrictions and the need for safety, there will be no calling hours.
Private funeral services will be held Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 11:30 am at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Interment will follow at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery at 2 pm. The funeral will be livestreamed at Annunciationakron.org.
A memorial service followed by a feast and celebration of life for Michael and Sam will be held at a later date when large gatherings become safe again.
In lieu of flowers, please offer donations to the General fund, or the Good Samaritans at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Checks can be made out to the church and mailed to 129 S. Union Street, Akron Ohio, 44304. Please specify which fund in the memo line.You can also give online at: https://www.annunciationakron.org/stewardship. Click the “Give” button at the top of the page.
Arrangements are being handled by Anthony Funeral Homes at Kucko-Anthony-Kertesz Chapel (www.anthonyfh.com).
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