Eftihia Pappagianis Gysland died in her sleep on Monday June 27, 2022 with her family by her side in Morrison, Colorado at 100 years of age.
Effie was born a 4 pound preemie on March 23rd,1922 in Lowell Massachusetts. She spent her early years in Lowell with her young family as the first child. Her parents, John and Evangeline, went on to give her 2 sisters, Alice and Betty, and two brothers, Steve and Paul.
During the Great Depression of the 1930’s mom helped protect her siblings while going to school at the Bartlett Community School which was a block from their home on 15 Oliver St. In order to help the family Effie quit school at the 9th grade and worked at a local textile mill.
As the three sisters reached their late teens, her father worried about their future. With serendipity a customer at her father’s barber business offered to educate all three sisters as beauticians for the price of one at his school in Boston. The three sisters used this opportunity their father gave them to develop new careers.
After graduating, the youngest sister, Betty, decided to follow her dream and got on a bus to Hollywood to try to become a “hairdresser to the stars”. Effie and Alice decided that it was too dangerous for a young, pretty woman to travel alone, so they hopped on another bus to follow Betty. They eventually caught up to each other in Oklahoma and arrived in LA together. They worked at a salon close to Columbia Pictures.
After a couple of years, Effie and Alice left LA and moved to Washington DC to become long-distance operators. One evening Alice convinced Effie to go to a dance hall with her. It was where Effie met Clifford Gysland and they married in 1947. Soon thereafter their oldest son, Paul, was born. They moved nearby to Takoma Park Maryland and the second son, Harry, was born two and a half years later. Effie was pregnant when the family moved to Beirut, Lebanon for Clifford’s job with the US State Department in January. Effie’s first daughter ,Caroline (Nina) was born in Beirut in 1952. In September 1956 the family moved to Maryland after Clifford’s project ended. Effies young family stayed with Alice’s young family for a couple of months and eventually moved to Wheaton Maryland.
While living in Wheaton, Effie lived as a homemaker and made friend's with her children’s friends' mothers. After several years Effie’s “surprise package”, Inga, was born. The young addition kept the family young even after her siblings went off to college and became more independent. Paul was in college when Clifford got assigned to Seoul Korea and the family moved to the 8th army base in Yongsan in 1867. Harry went off to college at his father’s alma mater in Boulder CO in 1968 so the family in Korea got smaller for Effie now with two daughters at home. Clifford finished his work in Korea after a year and a half and in 1969 moved Effie and the family to Fairfax Virginia where he soon thereafter retired.
They moved to a new home in the Greenbriar development in Fairfax which Effie was proud to have chosen. Nina married after two years after moving to Virginia then to Tennessee. Inga graduated high school and married 10 years after Nina married. Clifford and Effie bought a second home at 1011 Potomac Dr in Aquia Harbour Virginia where Clifford, Effie, and Paul would spend weekends. Effie’s oldest friend, Anne Tzanetakos Chicklis, passed in 2009.
In December 1993 Effie suffered a medium sized stroke while taking a coffee sample at Costco. She recovered from the stroke quickly but it started a long, slow path into dementia. Her son, Harry, took her to his home in Morrison Colorado in January 2011 after a fall put her in the hospital at the age of 89. Unfortunately Effie’s eldest daughter, Nina, died in a car accident on Monday July 8th 2013. Effie’s health was not up to travel to the funeral. Effie broke her left hip after a fall in summer of 2014 and was wheel chair bound after getting an artificial hip at the age of 92. In January 2019 Effie suffered another fall and broke he left shoulder which her doctor’s decided would cause to much stress to repair. Her left arm developed phantom itches that she tried to satisfy by rubbing against her couch causing a non-healing infection. The medicine for her infection gave her the “runs” which also needed to be treated. Her left arm she kept at her side as though it was in a sling. Over the next year the arm got to where she could move it and her fingers similar to her right hand. She then started to enjoy music again before her last birthday.
On her 100th birthday she had a “zoom” party where she was congratulated by her sisters, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
On June 19th 2022 Effie stopped eating and an ambulance took her to Swedish hospital in Englewood Colorado. The doctors said that she became dehydrated after not swallowing and that caused her salt levels to grow excessive which caused her heart to fibrillated so her brain did not get enough oxygen. She came to Harry’s home for End of Life hospice, where she was able to eat through medicine droppers for a few days and share her love with her family before she passed just before 6am on June 27th.
Rest in Peace Mom.
A Graveside Service will be held on Tuesday, July 5, 2022 at 1:30 PM at Quantico National Cemetery, 18424 Joplin Road, Triangle, VA 22172.
Please share your memories of Effie and condolences with her family by signing the Tribute Wall.