Obituary: Marianna Raftopolous

Marianna Raftopolous
Marianna Raftopolous

Marianna Mahleres Raftopoulos passed away April 14, 2010, at her home in Craig after an 11-year battle with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. She was surrounded by her loving family and a few of her closest friends.
Marianna was born on May 23, 1954, to Nick and Helen Mahleres, in Grand Junction.
She spent her summers in Meeker on her father’s sheep ranch and returned each fall to attend school in Grand Junction. She was graduated from Grand Junction High School in 1972. She attended the University of Colorado where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in marketing and was a member of the Pi Phi Sorority. After graduation, she was employed by the J.C. Penney Company as a merchandise buyer and later was promoted to corporate executive and transferred to San Antonio, Texas.
On Dec. 11, 1983, Marianna married the love of her life, John Raftopoulos, of Craig. The ranching lifestyle and motherhood proved to be a full-time job as she helped with the many tasks involved in the life of ranching. On July 4, 1985, their first child, a son, George was born. On Aug. 3, 1988, Mari Katherine Raftopoulos was born, and on Oct. 14, 1992, Angelo Raftopoulos entered their lives. Yet even with all this work, she sought out more challenges to satisfy her innate drive to achieve and to be of service to her community.
Marianna wore many hats in her lifetime. Not only was she a rancher’s wife and a devoted mother, she was also a well-respected politician and a credible businesswoman. She was the greatest fan and never missed an athletic or school event. She received the Woman of the Year award in 1994 for her remarkable accomplishments in both work and family, her ability to inspire others and her grace under these pressures. At that time she was quoted as follows:
“I want to be a part of a community with a strong health-care system, a strong education system and a very established small business base which includes agriculture,” she said. “Change is within our reach but you have to participate in order to do it.”
She also said, “In my business and in my personnel life I try to be honest and factual. In the end, honesty and facts will always win out.”
She was true to her word, and was employed as a community relations director of the Memorial Hospital until the fall of 1996 when she was elected as the first woman commissioner of Moffat County. She served two terms as a county commissioner. During her time as commissioner, she was instrumental in securing funding for the construction of the Public Safety Center and DSL service for northwest Colorado. After her second term as county commissioner, she continued her career aspirations as an oil and gas public relations consultant.
Even with her busy work schedule and constant meetings, Marianna always found time to give back. She served on many boards and commissions, as she was a philanthropic member in not only this community but also the state and nationwide. She served in leadership positions on the following boards: The Moffat Tunnel Commission, the president of the Colorado Counties Inc., a chairwoman for the Republican Central Committee, Yampa Valley Partners board member, United Way vice president, Colorado Cattlemen Association — Children of the West, Craig and Moffat County Economic Development Partnership, Memorial Health Foundation, Boys and Girls Club of Craig, Memorial Hospital Foundation, chairwoman of the Colorado Wildlife Commission and she was a also member of Gov. Owens’ and Gov. Ritter’s transition teams.
Marianna will be dearly missed by her family and the community.
Marianna is survived by her husband John Raftopoulos, sons George and Angelo Raftopoulos and daughter Mari Katherine Raftopoulos of Craig. Her parents Nick and Helen Mahleres of Grand Junction. Her brother Harry (Claudia) Mahleres and their children Nick, Eleni and Noelle Mahleres of Denver.
Two services were held in her honor. The Trisagion service at Grant Mortuary. Followed by funeral services at St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church. Officiating was Archimandrite Makarios Mannos of Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Rev. Protoprestbter Luke Uhl of Denver. Interment was at the Craig Cemetery.