An American story: Gus Louis Kampas

Sandra ClarkObits, West Knoxville

Gus Kampas left Greece and immigrated to the United States in 1950. He was just 13. Although he knew very little English, he boarded a train in New York and came to Knoxville where he was sponsored by his aunt, Sophia Kampas Cavalaris. After high school, in 1956, he left for Los Angeles where he worked at Desilu-Culver Studios where he cooked for Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Redd Foxx, Red Skelton and others. Gus returned to Knoxville in 1960, and through his hard work and savings he managed to bring his entire family –

mother, father, brother and two sisters – from Greece to Knoxville. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Gus teamed with his brother, Victor Kampas, to own and operate many Knoxville businesses, including the Varsity Inn restaurant on Cumberland Ave., Lakeview Market and Kampas Liquor Store on Alcoa Highway. He also supported St. George Creek Orthodox Church, chairing both Greek Night and GreekFest. His friends were many and his family reads like a directory of Knoxville restaurateurs.

Gus Kampas died on June 17, 2024, at age 87. The boy who landed in Knoxville at age 13 created a legacy of hard work, faith and family that all must respect. Services will be Friday, June 21, 2024, at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 4070 Kingston Pike, Knoxville. The family will receive friends from 10-11 a.m. with the funeral at 11. Interment will be at 1 p.m. at Lynnhurst Cemetery, 2300 Adair Drive, Knoxville. The full obituary is here.

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