Cover photo for Dionysios Karabatsos's Obituary
Dionysios Karabatsos Profile Photo

Dionysios Karabatsos

April 17, 1935 — February 24, 2024

Every chance he had, Dionysios made sure to tell everyone as tears of joy came to his face,

"I feel that I am a millionaire because I have the best children and Grandchildren" 

Dionysios (Dennis) Karabatsos was born in Homatatha, a small village in Peloponnese, Greece, on April 17, 1935. At the age of 14, he bravely ventured to Athens to make a better living to help his family. He found a job working for a shoe factory and stood out as such a smart and hard worker and was quickly promoted to a shoe designer. After marrying his wife, Aspasia (Soula), they started a family, which created a calling to make an even more significant move in hope of a better life for his new family. 


In July of 1966, Dionysios came to this country from Athens, Greece, at the age of 31, with his wife Soula and baby daughter Sophia. They came to stay with his brother Chris who welcomed them into the apartment that he was renting in Fort Lee until he was able to find a job and save money to move out on their own. It was not long before they brought another daughter into the world that they called Peggy (Panayiota).


"Dennis", as he was called, did not speak the language, and did not have more than $12 to his name, yet he was able to show his million-dollar smile and ask for help. Empowered with determination, he managed to secure employment at a chemical plant (Pfister Chemical in Ridgefield) where he quickly worked his way up and became a foreman. Others may have stopped there, but Dennis had an entrepreneurial spirit running through his veins, and next, he started his own landscaping business. He worked around the clock and on weekends but always found the time to come home for dinner from 7-7:30 every weeknight to eat the delicious food that his loving wife made for him and his family. His hard work, business prowess, and determination was starting to pay-off, and he saved money to eventually buy a house in 1973, where he raised his beautiful family and took pride in his accomplishments. He never complained and always had a smile on his face.  His work ethic was nothing but exemplary. Through this, he knew he was so blessed to have his wife "Soula" take care of the girls and the home, which made it possible for him to be successful and follow his dreams to create a legacy.


Dennis’ next business venture was with his beloved brother Dimitri, who had come from Greece shortly after his family’s arrival. They bought a restaurant together, along with a third partner, friend Kostas Kranidiotis, in Washington Heights near Columbia University School of Medicine and Dentistry and Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. The restaurant was called Haven Coffee Shop, and he was blessed with the greatest brother and business partnership spanning over 15 years. They looked out for each other and grew their business as they served all the doctors, students, and passers-by. Everyone knew and loved the Haven Coffee Shop-Their reputation was one of great food served with lots of love. Dennis’ genuine personality resulted in the opportunity to form trusted relationships with the doctors and students who eventually directly expanded his lifespan after he agreed to volunteer for various studies.


As time went on, Dennis' daughters were studying hard to achieve all A' Dennis would make sure that homework and studying came first and nothing should stand in their way. When it was time for college applications, he wanted only the best for his daughters, regardless of the cost. He knew he would find the money somehow and was always a great and welcomed customer at his bank. Dennis was all about EDUCATION since he did not have the opportunity to have his own.  He did not let his daughters end with only an undergraduate degree and always expected his daughters to achieve a "HIGHER EDUCATION" as he called it. Inspired By Dennis’ and Soula’s sacrifices and laser-focus on higher education, both Sophia and Peggy inherited the “hard work-ethic gene” and did accomplish high degrees and made him proud. 


When he and his brother sold the restaurant, Dennis  never was going to stop working......EVER!! He joined the Fort Lee Police Department over 22 years ago and worked until his last days of life. Everyone said "Dennis, why don't you stop working?" and he would reply "because I love the children and love my job".  I will never stop.  It is my purpose to keep working.  That's how I'm made!!!" His work ethic is nothing but the best and he has been a role model for all his family.  It brought him joy!!!!!

He was so proud to be part of the FORT LEE POLICE Department since September 2005, and so many children were blessed with his caring nature and million-dollar smile every day.


His daughters were active at St. John the Theologian Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Tenafly, New Jersey where they attended Sunday School and GOYA. It was the greatest gift he could give them to continue the Greek faith and traditions. It was at the church where they made the dearest memories and friends that have lasted a lifetime. As life continued his daughters got married and had families and gave their father the greatest joys of his life.... his 5 grandchildren. Jacob, Lucas, Anika, Trinity and Kai have made him the happiest man along with his wife Soula of 60 years and his daughters Sophia and Peggy and son in law Brett. He was also so blessed to have Uri and Naomi Sappir rent the apartment in their home and soon to become the "son" and "6th grandchild" respectively. In 2019, with loving and open arms, Dennis and Soula added to the family a wonderful son-in-law, Larry Miller, and two new granddaughters, Jordan and Sydney.  


Dennis’ passion for his birthplace and his desire to carry tradition has been passed onto his daughters and his grandchildren. He was always proud and wasn't shy to tell his daughters and grandchildren about it!! He and Soula were proud to provide a home in Pylos, Greece, which is the small town closest to Homatatha. They had the opportunity to spend every summer in Greece with their grandchildren where Dennis could share the stories of his childhood. He found great joy in showing his grandchildren the house he was raised in, his school, his church, and the fields that he played in, creating everlasting memories. These memories will keep his family smiling every day. He was such a proud man to be Greek but also to be an American Citizen too. Dennis’ spirit and legacy are the true illustration of the American Dream!


Dennis and Soula couldn't have been happier to have such an amazing family that loves them and makes them proud and happy every day and the rest is history.

Their times together through the years have been special for each of them in so many ways. There have been so many accomplishments and proud moments that were shared by all. They were there for every birthday and graduation and never missed the chance to be together.

Dennis was kind and full of unconditional love. Although Dennis will be surely missed, his family will find comfort knowing that he is fondly looking down from heaven feeling so very proud that all his dreams came true. He was a gem, a saint and the greatest father, husband and papouli that ever lived. Memory Eternal.


Funeral Monday 10AM from the Hunt-Stellato Funeral Home, 1601 Palisade Avenue, Fort Lee.  Funeral Service 11AM St. John the Theologian Greek Orthodox Cathedral.  Interment Fairview Cemetery.  Friends will be received Sunday 1-5PM at the funeral home. 

Dionysios would prefer a donation to his beloved Fort Lee Police Department's PBA, Fort Lee PBA Local #245, PO Box 1073, Fort Lee NJ 07024, in lieu of flowers.   

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