Lou Pappan Obituary, Death – Beaver County legend Lou Pappan died Tuesday in Patterson Heights, surrounded by relatives. He was 92. His son Demetrios dubbed him the American dream Tuesday. He came to America wanting affluence and a new life, but he fell in love with Americans. Western Pennsylvanians enjoyed Pappan’s Greek-accented TV ads for decades. Pappan, a posh restaurant, held annual picnics at Bradys Run Park for 20,000 elderly people.
“This country has such a big heart,” he told Associated Press in 1988. He spoke at the 14th annual Bradys Run picnic, when he spent $30,000 of his own money to serve Beaver Valley seniors spaghetti and meat sauce, bread, and tapioca pudding on covered picnic tables. Thank-you gifts were silver dollars. “This one,” he said. America is greatest. Elias Demetrios Papanikolaou, born in 1930, was reared in Nazi-occupied Makrakomi, Greece. As a child in wartime, he looked for American aid planes.
He remembers them dropping huge clothing and food cartons four decades later. Sugar was available. Chocolate bars sometimes arrived. Big event.” Pappan improved his life when his underprivileged town was recuperating from World War II and the Greek Civil War. 21-year-old him arrived in America. He went to Beaver Falls to work at his uncle Louis Nellas’ restaurant near a steel factory. Two years later, Pappan joined the Korean War 101st Airborne Division. A sergeant suggested Pappan for his Greek name.
Lou married Panagiota in 1960 in Makrakomi. They relocated to Beaver Falls’ Sixth Avenue. Pappan converted a Beaver Falls confectionary store into his first burger and hot dog restaurant in 1961. The Sweet Shop’s name survived because he couldn’t afford a sign. Three years later, he opened New Brighton’s first Pappan’s Family Restaurant near Beaver Falls bridge. Pappan worked hard to establish 30 Pappan’s Family Restaurants and 20 Roy Rogers franchisees. Demetrios claimed he adored customers.
“My father never mentioned money—it was just a byproduct of his work.” He talked customers and workers. He liked donating. He raised us.” Pappan’s famous fried chicken spawned another catchphrase: “Chicken, Chicken, Chicken!” Pappan offered every Three Rivers Stadium fan a free chicken dinner on the Pirates’ final day in 1986 to reach a million fans. After the Pirates won, Pappan served 33,000 fans for $45,000. “I want to die a nice man rather than a rich man,” Pappan laughed. “God blessed me,” he said. Never a bad day in our country. I like every citizen. Pappan retired in his mid-eighties.