Nike Ordolis Tseperis – An Extraordinary Woman
Greek Born Entrepreneur, Businesswoman, Wife of Renown Greek Singer and Guitarist, Nicholas Tseperis.
Nike Tseperis was a very loving woman. Her life of selfless love and concern for others has been confirmed by countless testimonies from family members, friends and acquaintances ever since her unexpected and sudden passing on July 10, 2007.
Nike Tseperis was an extraordinary woman. She was given the name of the Greek goddess of victory and it turned out to be prophetic. Her life was a series of victories. She was born December 5, 1933 to Maria and Lycourgos Ordolis of Sparta, Greece. Nike was just two years old when her mother became ill and went to Athens for treatment. She recovered but never returned home and eventually her parents divorced. Her father, along with her beloved grandmother, Anastasia (known to Nike as her Yia Yia, the Greek expression for grandmother), raised Nike. Other family members helped, including her Uncle George and his wife, Amalia. Although it was unusual at that time for a child to be left by her mother, Nike remembered her early childhood as happy and filled with love.
Nike’s father died when she was a young girl. When she was teenager, a decision was made to send her to live in the United States with her other uncle and his new wife. She set sail on the Nea Hellas on March 10, 1952 from Greece to the United States, entering through historic Ellis Island. The ship included many other orphaned children. Once in New York City, Nike quickly discovered her uncle’s family only wanted a servant girl. So Nike boldly struck out on her own – a courageous move for a young teenage girl in the big city. Her early years in the United States were full of challenges, but Nike was always proud of her ability to find honest work and eventually become an outstanding US citizen.
Through her persistence Nike secured a job at the large shipping company, Goulandris. One evening she went out with friends to the Athenian Corner Night Club in Fort Lee, New Jersey. It was a fortuitous night as she met the internationally famous singer and guitar player, Nicholas Tseperis. He was immediately taken with her. “She was so beautiful. She was wearing a very fashionable hat which was unusual at the time. I approached the table and introduced myself.” She revealed where she worked and the next day he went to her job and waited outside until she finished, then took her out to a Schrafts Coffee Shop for a bite to eat. A romance blossomed and they eventually wed.
Nike was a faithful and supportive companion to her husband for more than fifty years. “I love her very much”, he remarked. “She will always be with me. She is a wonderful woman.” At a family dinner June 7, 2006 to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary her daughters presented the couple with a letter from President George Bush honoring their matrimonial longevity. Nike treasured this letter.
This extremely energetic woman was also very attentive to details. She was a tremendously caring mother to her two daughters, Virginia and Danielle. Later in life she enjoyed being a grandmother and doted on her only grandson, John. Nike and John were two peas in a pod and daughter Danielle and her husband Steve often remarked that John spent more time at his Grandparents’ home than he did in his own.
She loved to learn and had a true entrepreneurial spirit driven by her curiosity and ambition. Nicholas’ profession as an international singer and guitarist took them around the world. They lived in Paris, France and while they where living in Europe, Nick headlined the Cannes Film Festival and was a regular on Aristotle Onassis Yacht . They became friends with many of the famous entertainers who were their contemporaries. It was always Nike that provided the home entertainment by cooking sumptuous meals and hosting interesting parties for orchestra members and numerous celebrities alike. Melina Mercuri, Anthony Quinn, and Van Johnson were but a few of the many stars who spent an evening or two at their home enjoying their company and investigating Greek culture. Together with her husband she purchased Nina Record Company in Manhattan, New York and they recorded numerous entertainers. For many years she was also a successful owner/operator of a music, bridal and baptismal business in Astoria, NY.
After her two wonderful daughters were born, she, along with the children traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States. Some of their fondest memories included Greece, France, Disney World, Greenport and Southold, Long Island. They spent many summers in the Catskill Mountains where Nicholas would perform at the Resorts.
Despite her demanding schedule she always made time for family and took a very active interest in her daughters’ education. She encouraged them to ask questions as she believed that was the best way to learn. She suggested the teachers have an “international foods day” and helped by bringing in Greek foods like feta cheese and pastichio (Greek Lasagna). This made all the teachers very happy. She was a frequent volunteer in school activities, went to every parent/teacher session and attended every event her daughters were involved in. Her encouragement of their education instilled confidence and she was a great role model. She was always learning, too. Her daughters fondly recall her patience and help.
A stylish woman, she loved to shop for the latest fashions. She was also a creative cook and hostess. She loved holidays and viewed them as a time for family and friends to gather and share. She enjoyed decorating, especially at Christmas and truly had the Christmas spirit. She showed kindness and compassion to others. She was a bundle of energy and hit the ground running from the moment she awoke until bedtime. According to her daughter Virginia, “I never saw my mother take time off from work or any responsibilities. She just kept on going and also never complained. Not one day, and that is pretty amazing to me!”
This loving woman had a guiding philosophy that the really important things in life are your family, your health, and the people you love. She was especially good at establishing priorities, something that came naturally to her. She lived her life with passion and purpose. She also had a great deal of gratitude. She thanked people for anything that they did for her. She was also a very down-to-earth person, very approachable.
She will always be remembered as fun, funny and enthusiastic. A few months after she died her two daughters, Virginia and Danielle, wrote a poignant Thanksgiving Day Poem to their mother, including such lovely lines as:
“You provided us guidance and protection and you always gave us your best
So beautiful, so gracious, so wonderful
You loved us so much and touched our hearts in so many ways
Your smile was so bright no matter what
Your laughter and sense of humor bring you back to us each day”
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