Obituary Emmanouel Savenas
Emmanouel (Manoli) Savvenas passed away in his home the evening of December 31st, 2022 in Springfield, MO.
Manoli was born to *Paraskevas Savvenas and *Konstantina Kyriakouli Savvena on May 17th, 1941 on the island of Rhodes, Greece, joining his siblings *Giorgos, *Phillipi, *Panagioti, *Maria, Athena, and after his birth Tsambika.
Manoli was born in the village of Agios Isidoros, moving with his family to the Old Town as a child, sprightly running through his surroundings, jumping out of school windows and generally indulging in mischief despite the poverty of an occupied island of WWII. When he left primary school, he apprenticed with a goldsmith and earned himself a trade in the field of jewelry beginning at age 11.
With wanderlust, he ventured from Greece to Australia where he resumed boxing and picked up wrestling. He traveled to the United States in 1967 adamant to become a professional wrestler. While it didn’t happen right away, he began his wrestling career in Mexico. He entered the Tennessee territory shortly after, under the name of Mike Pappas, known to his fans as “The Flying Greek” for his trailblazing aerial moves. He was on the first Madison Square Garden ticket of over $100,000 in sales, the second to enter the ring but you’d never know it based on the cheers of the crowd. He was a wrestling champion.
He met his wife, Valerie, in Kentucky. They married in August, 1973, and lived in Australia, Canada, Fiji, and other beautiful locales for Manoli’s wrestling career before settling in Missouri for its slow pace of life. He retired from wrestling in 1978 in Kansas City, and moved with the family to Springfield, opening a wholesale jewelry business which evolved into a storefront of his namesake.
Manoli and Valerie had three children, Paraskevas, Maria, and Konstantinos. Manoli has a daughter, Constandina, and *Konstantina that passed shortly after birth, before he met Valerie.
Manoli and Valerie were part of a group of founders of an Orthodox church in the Ozarks, St. Thomas in Springfield.
Manoli will be missed by his wife, Valerie, children Constandina, Paraskevas (Amy), Maria (Michael), Konstantinos, his grandchildren Savannah (Tyler), Makaiah, Emmanouella, Izabella, Isidora, and Emmanuel, his great-grandchildren Jaxon and Mason, his sisters Athena and Tsambika, along with many nieces, nephews, family members, and friends who found him to be one-of-a-kind.
Mike Pappas will be missed by legions of fans who remember his signature moves and by fans that only knew him by his legacy.
A documentary about Mike Pappas, The Flying Greek, will soon be available online and on DVD.
Manoli will lie in state from 7:00PM, Wednesday, January 4, 2023, until 10:00AM, Thursday, January 5, 2023, at Theotokos Unexpected Joy Orthodox Church, Ash Grove, MO. Funeral services will begin at 10:00AM, Thursday, January 5, 2023, at the church, with burial to follow at Holy Resurrection Cemetery, Ash Grove.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to Theotokos Unexpected Joy Orthodox Church and mailed to the funeral home, Wilson-Griffin Funeral Home, PO Box 217, Ash Grove, MO 65604.