SPOKANE’S THRIFTY CHARACTER
Argyer “Archie” or “Arch” Cosmos Laloudakis was known not just for his tightfisted ways, but also for the devilish humor he used in showing his love of friends and family. He was born to Evangelia “Angie” and Constantinos Laloudakis in Butte, Montana, on November 1, 1937. He passed away on March 1, 2018, in Spokane, Washington. His story comes from documents and photographs in the family home in Spokane and from comments by his friends, a cousin and a neighbor.
Constantinos and Evangelia (or Evangilia) were a handsome couple and were recognized as talented ballroom dancers. Archie grew up close to his mother as Constantinos worked on the railroad in Butte and was away from home much of the time. Constantinos also worked as a waiter. Archie could be a “little devil” and reportedly was sent to a boarding school for a while. The family moved to Spokane sometime in the early 1940s after Archie had started school in Butte. They first lived near Coeur d’Alene Park and eventually bought a small house on a large corner lot in the northern part of the city. Constantinos died in 1957 and Archie lived with his mother until her passing in 1990. Archie is buried with his parents at Riverside Cemetery in Spokane.
Archie had a rather extensive military career. He joined the United States Marine Corps Reserves. Records show his promotion to Private First Class in July of 1955 and his honorable discharge on February 13, 1959. He was then inducted into the United States Army on January 10, 1961, and honorably discharged from the Army on December 20, 1962. He apparently injured his foot during his military service. A note among his military memorabilia indicates he served in the Third Armored Calvary Regiment, Second Reconnaissance Squadron in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Back in Spokane he earned his Associate in Arts degree from Spokane Community College in June of 1972 and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Eastern Washington State College (now Eastern Washington University) on June 8, 1973. His area of study was reported to be social welfare.
His employment history and sources of income are rather colorful. He worked for a while as a barber, at a bank and spent time at horse races. He loved jewelry some of which he was given “on loan” to bet on horse races. His extensive collection of jewelry included gold coins, one with a diamond in the middle and another piece valued at $6,000. Most of his jewelry was stolen by an acquaintance that lived with him for a while.
Archie frequented the Pine Shed Restaurant with its bar, entertainment, dancing and gambling venues. One night, as he was leaving the Pine Shed, he was hit by a car driven by an insurance agent. His chances of recovery were slim but Archie, in his comic fashion, said they had to pry the glass from which he was drinking out of his hand. Injuries to his hip and legs left Archie walking with great difficulty and often in extreme pain for the rest of his life. His disability income and settlement from the accident and dealing in the purchase and sale of jewelry provided Archie with some funds. However, this limited income contributed to his frugal approach to life.
STORIES FROM FRIENDS
Helen Argerula Morgan is Archie’s second cousin. Her father and Constantinos were first cousins. Her family lived in Deer Lodge, Montana, and Archie frequently traveled from Spokane with his parents to visit her family. Helen remembers Archie as a “mean little kid” whose parents were constantly scolding and even “yelling” at him. He and Helen were born just one year part and she was the one responsible for entertaining him during the visits. She acknowledges that Archie mellowed considerably as he aged and was always kind to her parents. Photographs and stories of Archie’s parents indicate a rather comfortable lifestyle and being an only child, it appears he was probably spoiled.
Calliope Kanellos became acquainted with Archie when the Laloudakis family first came to Spokane. She and her husband, Stan, maintained a friendship through fundraisers, parties and other events sponsored by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church community. Stan remembers Archie’s miserly ways, “bumming” drinks while Stan was tending bar at the Greek Festival. Because Archie would steal Chiclets Gum from a machine in a barber shop, the owner replaced the gum with Feenamint (a laxative gum) and Archie never returned to the shop. In later years, Stan and Archie would talk on the telephone several times a week, and Archie, without his hearing aid, demanded that Stan repeat himself. Despite his stinginess, Archie’s generosity surfaced. For example, he spent considerable time providing meals and cleaning house for Calliope’s uncle who struggled with muscular dystrophy.
Everett, Washington, attorney Harry Platis knew Archie through their mutual membership in AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association) and while attending AHEPA meetings and conferences. Their relationship strengthened while Harry was attending law school at Gonzaga University in Spokane. He and Archie spent time together at the Pine Shed. Harry, along with his wife and daughter, were able to share a wonderful time with Archie on an extended trip to Greece. He also recalled that Archie’s desire to be a social worker was thwarted in part by his injuries but also as he was the sole caregiver for his aging mother. In many ways, Archie compensated for his disability by using his wit and humor.
George Menegas’ relationship with Archie stemmed from his yiayia (grandmother) and Archie’s mother, Evangelia, being close friends. George remembers the two of them sitting on his parents’ living room couch talking and laughing for hours at a time. “One day, my brother’s friend put a ‘whoopee cushion’ on the couch where they were to sit. Sure enough, my yiayia sat right on it. It made the sound that they do and startled the two of them at first. They then broke into hilarious laughter for the longest time. They were so cute. Archie was also good friends with my Uncle George who was like a second father to us, so our entire family got to know Archie pretty well.”
When George thinks about Archie, three things instantly come to mind: his story telling, his sense of humor, his “wheeler dealer” ways. Archie had a knack for telling stories. “One was when he and his mother were driving to Boston from Spokane. While in Chicago, they attempted to back up in their car. Sure enough, the car’s reverse gear was not working. Most people would probably get that repaired right away – not Arch. He and Mrs. Laloudakis continued without the use of the car’s reverse and did safely make it all the way to Boston. If only they had You Tube back then.”
George continues, “Archie had a unique sense of humor but always made me laugh. He spent some time at various health care facilities these last few years. On several occasions a nurse would come in the room and lean over, put her arms around him and adjust the way he was laying in his bed. Often, her chest would be in the proximity of Archie’s face. Even though it would usually hurt when she would move him, his comment would be, ‘We’ve got to stop meeting like this.’ He always had a ‘one liner’ and most of the time they were pretty funny.”
On one occasion Archie asked George to buy him an IPad or tablet. The reason was that Archie wanted to find a Greek girl. George made the purchase and they somehow located a woman in southern California who was a realtor. The woman came to Spokane and even purchased a house there. However, a relationship never developed and the woman returned to California. Archie remained a bachelor all his life.
“Archie, to say the least, was very thrifty. He took great pride in always getting the best deal. To this day, he is the only person I knew who would drive to three different grocery stores to save $1.75 with various sales or coupons. That’s Arch and he loved doing that. After my Uncle George passed away I made a point to visit Arch regularly to keep the connection in our family. I always enjoyed visiting with him as there was rarely a dull moment. We will miss him for sure.”
Archie was also very well read. He was fluent in both Greek and English. He loved to argue and debate issues with his friends just to enjoy the action and “feel alive.” And, in his ornery way, would often embarrass his friends. George remembers accompanying Archie to purchase a new television set and teasing the store clerk.
Daniel, Archie’s neighbor for many years, describes him as “one of a kind” and extremely “tight fisted.” On one occasion, the neighbor agreed to cut the grass on the large family lot for $12.00 but Archie paid him only $10.00. The neighbor also recalls Archie even making a person so angry that the person shot a hole in Archie’s Ford Mustang.
Eleni Schumacher’s mother and Archie were God siblings (baptized by the same person – George Garras). “I didn’t know Archie’s father, but I did know his mother growing up as she visited my grandparents’ place in Rathdrum, Idaho. Archie would drive his mother, Evangelia, out to the family farm on Sunday afternoons and spend the afternoon visiting. Evangelia was from the same area of Greece as my grandfather. She had a deep raspy voice and smoked like a chimney. Though she looked like the wicked witch in Snow White, she was so very kind to us kids.”
“A funny story… we would come up from California and visit my grandparents every summer in Rathdrum. Once we were playing all day in the barn and in the mud. We were quite dirty, and my yiayia (grandmother) told us to take our clothes off and get into a big wash tub that she had outside. We joked that we didn’t want to because just as we did, sure enough someone would drive up and see us naked. Yiayia said “No way…” but just as we stripped down, and got in the tub, up drove Archie and his mother! We ran around screaming. Funny the things we remember.”
“Archie was someone that was always there in the background… or in the forefront. It is sad to have yet another of the oldtime Greeks at Holy Trinity leave us. The community has lost its Greek flavor as one by one they leave us.”
From what this writer has learned about Archie Laloudakis, a video interview with him would have been very interesting and entertaining. We only hope this compilation of stories obtained from others will do him justice.
May his Memory be Eternal.By John Nicon, October, 2018 PHOTOS
1 Argyer Laloudakis, circa early 2000s
2 Evangelia as a young woman
3 Constantinos and Evangelia wedding
4 Constantinos and Evangelia
5 Argyer, circa 1938
6 Argyer in Evzone uniform, 1940s
7 Argyer as a young boy
8 Argyer as a young man
9 Argyer in the Army, circa 1961
10 Military memorabilia
11 Newspaper article
12 Spokane AHEPA (Archie seated at far right) Also present: George Alex, John Gormanos, Stan Kanellos, Mike Iliakis
13 Archie with friends in Butte, Montana, circa 2016
14 Funeral Program, 2018
Photos from Laloudakis and Kanellos family collections and by Zubick of Butte, Montana. (all dates not known) SOURCES
Video interview with Stan and Calliope Kanellos, conversations with George Menegas, Helen Argerula Morgan, Harry Platis and Archie’s neighbor, Daniel. Documents and photographs from the Laloudakis family collection.