Rea Kalessa Passes Away At 92

By  //  July 15, 2012

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BREVARD COUNTY • INDIALANTIC, FLORIDA – Rea Kalessa, 92, of Indialantic went to the Lord Friday, July 6, 2012 at Holmes Regional Medical Center. Rea was born in Chicago, IL to George and Ida Hotes.

In high school Rea excelled in academics, music, and sports where she earned her varsity letter for the sport of volleyball. As a young adult she was an active member of her church choir and organized many of the choir social events.

After high school graduation, she studied at the Chicago Beauty School and received her certification as a beautician. She applied to the drafting department of the U.S. Government after the start of WWII where she worked as a draftsman at O’Hare Field. While working at her government job, she met and married Russel R. Kalessa, USAF.

They travelled extensively throughout Europe and Asia until retirement in 1970. They settled in Indialantic and joined others to establish the St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church on Wickham Road. Rea and Russ spent much of their time working with fellow parishioners to help the St. Katherine community grow and accomplish building improvements. Rea was active in the St. Katherine choir and served as the Choir Director receiving an award for 30 years of service.

She was the recipient of the 2002 Archangel Michael Award for dedicated service to her church community. In 2006 she received the Service Award for Choirs and Musicians and in October of 2007 she received the Archbishop Iakovos Distinguished Service Award. She was honored for 25 years of service as an active member and past president of the St. Sophia Philoptohos Society.

Rea was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Lt. Col. Russel R. Kalessa, brother Ted Hotes, and sister Georgia Laris. She is survived by sister Helen Jumes, sister Betty (Tom) Panouses, nephews and nieces, Renee Jumes, Chris Panouses, Hedy Panouses, Kurt (Tracy) Panouses, Judy (Dr. W. Charles) Kennedy and great nephews and nieces Tommy Panouses, Elena Panouses, Brigid (Chris) Smith, Carrie Kennedy, Charles (Julie) Kennedy and Meghan (Jim) Malooly.

Visitation will be at Beach Funeral Home, 1689 S Patrick Drive, Indian Harbour Beach on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 from 7-9 p.m. with a Trisagion Service beginning at 8:00 p.m.  A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. at St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church, 5965 N Wickham Road, Melbourne, Florida. Interment will be at Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell Florida.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church Building Fund.