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Michael Sotirhos, first Greek-American ambassador to Athens, dies

TAGS: Diplomacy, Obituary

Michael G. Sotirhos, who in 1989 became the first American of Greek descent to be appointed US ambassador to Greece, died on Sunday in Florida. He was 91.

The son of Greek migrants who arrived in the US through Ellis Island in 1923, Sotirhos was born and raised in Manhattan. He graduated from Baruch College at The City University of New York.

He became involved in the real estate and construction sectors before entering government service in 1985, when President Ronald Reagan appointed him US ambassador to Jamaica. Four years later, he was picked by President George H.W. Bush, a close friend, to head the US diplomatic service in Athens.

On top of serving the Greek Orthodox Church, he co-founded the Greek Orthodox Youth of America and was president of the United Greek Orthodox Charities, among others. For decades he was a member of the Archdiocesan Council, while he was also awarded honorary law doctorates by the Hellenic College, Deree College and The City College of New York.

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