What's in a Name?
The name JP's Delights is for my dad, John-Paul, who inspired me to follow my dreams. Unfortunately, he passed away 2 months before the initial start of JP's Delights after an 11 month battle with stage 4 esophageal cancer. This is my motivation for donating 10% towards esophageal cancer research.
For my Dad:
John-Paul Vassilopoulos was born on the north side of Chicago on August 1, 1951, but not registered until the 2nd, which I think set the pace for his life. He was proudly kicked out of his high school for holding the record for the most tardies ever. He led a wild life, making up his own rules as he went along, spontaneous, and always full of adventures whether it be living on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation for a few months on his way to Alaska, following his Hippie dreams to San Francisco, seeing all lower 48 states, picking apples in Washington state, framing houses in the deserts of California, scuba diving the Florida Keys, riding motorcycles, or sailing the Virgin Islands, he never settled for less than he wanted. He was a unique and independent individual who marched to the beat of his own bold drum, fiercely proud of his family, who he was, and what he accomplished. He graduated with a bachelor’s of fine arts from the Art Institute of Chicago and went on to open his own graphic design studios in Marin County, California and then continued on to be a creative director for an advertising firm on New York’s Madison Avenue. He showcased his creative abilities and talents through billboards, album covers, government contracts, posters, etc. New York City was where he met his wife, Isa Pacanowski Vassilopoulos. He saw her standing with a friend across the lobby of the YMCA. He took her out on a 4th of July date, where he convinced her he had the Empire State Building lit up especially for her. They married in Chicago on November 13, 1984. After many adventures between New York, Chicago, and Rio de Janiero, Brazil they settled on Pasadena after their baby girl, Tatianna Vassilopoulos, was born on April 19, 1986.
He was always creative with his jobs. He started a swimwear business designing Brazilian style bikinis that were ahead of their time and inventing then manufacturing a new form of swimsuit hangers as well. He has his own business with satellite dishes in the 80s and also had his own company leasing hospital and restaurant equipment in Los Angeles. Life led them to South Florida where he used his design talents to create glow benches and 3D Magic Eye phone calling cards. Lastly, he worked in finance for American Express before retiring in 2010. Even in retirement he never slowed down. He took up precision driving and drove and acted in more than a dozen movies and TV shows. He took time to travel and be with his loved ones. He loved driving his blue BMW 650i convertible and riding his sexy 250cc Aprilia scooter. He took pride in his work and through many renovations turned his house into a home. No one could have predicted that esophageal cancer would cut short his fantastic life after a yearlong battle. He is preceded in death by his parents, Constantine Vassilopoulos and Mary Stoyas Vassilopoulos, the aunt who raised him Thea Eleni Vassilopoulos, and countless other beloved aunts, uncles, and cousins. He leaves behind his loving wife Isa, daughter Tatianna, Gildete Sales, various furry family members, 2 older brothers Chris Vassilopoulos and Harry Vassilopoulos, 2 younger sisters Denise Vassilopoulos and Maria Vassilopoulos Bursak, and numerous excellent friends.
Here’s to a loving, selfless, & hard-working dad! I don't know where to begin thanking you for all that you have done for me. You brought me into the world, watched out for me, taught me, laughed with me, spent a lot of time with me, and supported and encouraged me throughout my entire life! Thanks for being the best dad anyone could ask for. I appreciate you for being on call for me every day of the year. Thanks for being there and helping me when I need help. Dad, you’re still the one I think of first when I have a question about something or when I just need some support and good advice. Thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for loving me, teaching me, and helping to raise me. You've worked hard! Dad, you are my hero and my role model. Thanks for being here for me and being a great example. Thanks for giving me the best things in life: Your time, your care, and your love. I can't begin to thank you for all the things you have done for me. Dad, you have protected me, taught me, encouraged me, and accepted me the way I am, thank you! You told me that I can be me & I don't have to change for anyone. That was one of the most valuable gifts you could give me. Thank you for giving me everything I ever wanted while still teaching me to be content with what I have. Even though my words will never do justice in thanking you for the great contribution you made in my life, I want you to know I have a deep sense of gratitude for you. The older I get the more reasons I realize that you have been & continue to be the best father. When I think of the word dad, I think of many positive qualities. You're the reason I have such a great image of a father in my mind. Everyone needs a father figure while they are growing up. I was lucky enough to have the real thing. Thanks for being a genuine, loving, and caring dad. Dad, you have been one of my greatest influences in life. You have taught me many things, and the most important thing you have taught me is how to live a life with character. Sometimes it's the tough lessons that allow you to learn the most. Thanks for allowing me to learn & grow from my mistakes. You loved me enough to teach me some tough lessons so my life would be easier later on. Since I'm extremely stubborn, I'm glad I was given such a strong-willed father. Thanks for putting up with me all these years. Only you could do what you do. You’re a fantastic dad who should win a Nobel Peace Prize for putting up with me. Dad, I can't imagine what my life would be like without your presence. You have provided me a stability in my life that I can't put a price on. You are a blessing to many people, but I am especially grateful for the wonderful work you have done in being my dad. Dads like you are priceless. You have been such an amazing influence on me since I was born. Thanks for your guidance and I guess mom and I will have to take it from here. I am one of the luckiest kids in the world because I got you as my dad. You are a wonderful, patient, caring, awesome dad. Thank you for everything!
My dad is someone who is genuine, patient, giving, loving, accepting, respectful, supportive, dependable, thoughtful, incredibly funny with a fantastic sense of humor, loves you for who you are, is not judgmental, he's straightforward, forgiving, can always cheer anyone up, selfless, a listener, trustworthy, loyal, open, honest, non-defensive, sharing, intelligent, ambitious, an animal lover, an overall kind human being, and I can keep going on and on listing my dad's wonderful attributes, but all those fantastic traits don't really do him justice. It's hard to put into words how much my dad means to me, my mom, and our family and friends.
My dad is always the 1st to lend a helping hand to anyone no matter the cost to himself. He regularly does whatever he can, generous to a fault, and sometimes even his own detriment. He has been there supporting me every step of the way and hardly ever says no if he can help it. He put me through fancy schools, helped me with my homework and projects, always cheered me on in my extracurricular activities, opened up our home in order for me to be an exchange student in England, allowed me to study abroad in Australia, and gave me the chance to branch out travel on my own starting at 16 and every year in those 16 years since. He funded my undergrad education with full room and board as well and when I wanted to go to grad school, he told me to just get in and not worry about the rest because he would take care of it. He has always been there for me supporting my hopes and dreams however unrealistic those ventures may be. He has literally given me the world and every opportunity in it.
He's constantly on top of birthday, anniversaries, special events, and making the most out of the little celebrations in life. He consistently sends cards, gifts, never misses a phone call, he keeps in touch, and is never far from his loved ones. My dad is gregarious and makes friends fast. He isn't one to shy away from a conversation with a stranger and is always chatting people up wherever he goes and making them laugh. It's always a good time when you're with him no matter the situation. Time with him always moves too quickly.
I’d like to think that I got my sense of humor and adventure from my dad. Daddy, thank you for doing fun things with me and pushing me to always do more. I always thought we’d have more time. You didn’t deserve to go like this. You are such a good person. You had so much more life to live. 67 was way too young. There was a ton more for you to see, do, and experience. I’ll keep up the good work on your behalf, keep making you proud, and represent you well. I miss you so much already. I so desperately wish I could get one more bear hug, one last kiss, see that brilliant white and straight smile, and hear the sound of your soothing voice, and fantastic laughter once more, even though I know that once more would never be enough. Until we meet again, I’ll have our good memories and tons of photos to keep you alive within me. I love you very much, daddy.
Follow the link below to learn more about esophageal cancer. I have created a website with resources for cancer patients including questions to ask your doctor, recipes, links to useful websites with new breakthroughs, suggestions for alleviating side effects and symptoms, and complementary therapies and integrative medicine, as well as travel guides to the cities with top cancer research hospitals like New York City, Houston, and South Florida. I want to pass on my knowledge and experience in hopes of helping others.