Uncle Louie Fund
Est. in 2021 as a donor advised fund by the Stamos family.
Once in a generation, a special family member comes along. It’s a person who constantly gives, serves as a mentor, stands like a rock when needed, and always — with a smile — has only kind words for all. Their generosity and spirit also grow, and they become a constant fixture in the community. For the Stamos family — Greg, Lisa, Paul, and Paris, and their cousin, Ioanna — that person was Elias Vonetes, their beloved Uncle Louie.
To honor his memory, the family established the Uncle Louie Fund at the Valley Community Foundation (VCF) to benefit the Valley community and St. Barbara’s Greek Orthodox Church.
“Every family should have the blessing of an Uncle Louie,” said his great-niece, Lisa Heerdt.
In 1914, Elias arrived in America. He was 18 years old, from the mountain village of Vamvakou outside of Sparta in Greece. He settled in Ansonia, working in the family market and as a crane operator for Farrell Corporation.
He never drove, nor married and lived with his extended family all his life until his death at the age of 101. He walked with his nieces, nephews, greatnieces and great-nephews, and pushed his great-great nieces and nephews in their carriages and strollers well into his 90s.
Everyone loved him — neighborhood children, parishioners, friends of his nieces and nephews. He was Uncle Louie to all.
“Uncle Louie was a perfect blend of the grandfather we didn’t have. He was an uncle, second father, best friend to all,” said great-nephew, Greg Stamos. “He somehow pulled this all off without any effort or being conscious of it.”
The Stamos family has several other funds with VCF, so it was logical and easy for them to create this donor advised fund.
“We wanted to honor Uncle Louie, who by example instilled in us the virtues of love and kindness not just towards family but towards all people,” Lisa said. “We can’t think of a better way to keep his memory alive.”
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