John Koutsoumpas, 72, a retired Depew music teacher, composer and teachers union leader, died Tuesday (Sept. 28, 1999) in the Mitchell Campus of Hospice Buffalo in Cheektowaga.
Born in St. Louis, he served in the Army during World War II. He studied music under the GI Bill at the University of New Mexico, minoring in oriental studies.
An accomplished pianist, he went on to study under composer Roy Harris at Indiana University for his master's and doctoral degrees. He was an assistant professor and composer-in-residence.
He was commissioned to compose music for a ballet by the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. He also wrote a string quartet for the famed Beaux Arts Trio.
He came to the Buffalo area in 1964 and taught for 21 years in the Depew schools, where he was known as "Mr. K." and the "Golden Greek." He was chairman of the Depew Schools Educational Development Council. He retired in 1992.
In the Depew Teachers Organization, he was chairman of the Grievance Committee and chairman of the Teacher Education and Professional Practices Committee. He was a delegate to the New York State United Teachers, the American Federation of Teachers and the Buffalo AFL-CIO Council, where he was chairman of the Education Committee.
He was an active member of Phi Beta Kappa, a member of the University at Buffalo Educational Service Council, past president of the Western New York Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and a former member of the executive committee of the New York State Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
He wrote the proposal and helped establish the first New York State United Teachers teacher center in Western New York, then served as its director. He also wrote the state organization's guidelines for teacher education programs in the 1970s and negotiated with area colleges and universities to get them adopted.
He received the Western New York Regional Leadership Award from New York State United Teachers in 1994, the Distinguished Service Lifetime Membership Award from the Depew Teachers Organization in 1995 and the Louis E. Raths Distinguished Service Award from the Western New York Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development in 1998.
He and his wife, the former Katherine Faturos, were married in 1962. She died in 1994.
Surviving are a son, William of Rochester; two daughters, Elena Walker of Lancaster and Capt. Amy Bell, an Army nurse, of Aiea, Hawaii; a sister, Sister Harriette of Kansas City, Mo.; and seven grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday in Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, 146 W. Utica St., after prayers at 9 in Zurbrick-Amigone Funeral Home, 5615 Broadway. Burial will be in Elmlawn Cemetery, Town of Tonawanda.