A well-known downtown Rockford businessman, Dimitrios “Jim” G. Parthenios, co-owner of Parthenios Luncheonette, died Saturday, Aug. 28, 2010, after a long illness. He was 78. After closing the restaurant, entered Park Strathmoor nursing home.
Born Aug. 23, 1932, in Lada, Greece, Dimitrios immigrated to Toronto, Canada, before moving to the U.S. and finally settling in Rockford. One of nine children, he eventually became a beloved father and grandfather; he also was uncle to many nieces and nephews.
He and his brother, John, had co-owned the restaurant since it opened in 1969 until closing it in August. The storefront at 132 N. Church St. was recently put up for sale.
Parthenios’ daughter, Anna Deligiannis, said the business’ longevity was due to the strong work ethic of her father and uncle. They had owned four restaurants over the years.
The restaurant was twice touched by tragic incidents. In 1995, a Rockford Mass Transit bus crashed into the building, killing a 79-year-old customer. On Thanksgiving morning, 1999, “Jim” Parthenios was opening the restaurant and was suddenly assaulted by a homeless man who stabbed him several times. After recuperating in the hospital, Parthenios went back to work, determined to keep the business going.
The central downtown location made the restaurant a convenient stop for people who worked downtown or took a break from shopping.
Funeral arrangements for Parthenios were handled by Sundberg Funeral Home. The service was held Sept. 1 in Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, with Father Demetrios Kounavis officiating. Burial was in Greenwood Cemetery. A memorial fund has been established in Parthenios’ name at Harris Bank (formerly AMCORE) under “Dimitrios Parthenios Memorial Fund” to benefit charity.
With great sympathy and thanks from the staff of The Rock River Times and friends in the River District, to the family of “Jim” Parthenios, our good neighbor.
From the Sept. 8-14, 2010 issue