Skip to main content

IN MEMORIAM: Professor Emeritus Kaltsounis never forgot Albanian roots

December 15, 2015

The Jackson School and Hellenic Studies Program offer condolences to the family of Professor Emeritus Theodore “Ted” Kaltsounis, Ph.D., who died peacefully surrounded by his family on Dec. 13, in Bothell, Wash. He was 85.

Born in Divri, Albania, to the late Fr. Haralampos and Sophia (Pappas) Kaltsounis, Dr. Kaltsounis and his family fled to Greece during World War II to escape persecution by Albania’s communist regime. He came to the United States on a Fulbright scholarship and earned his doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, focusing his research on social studies and civics instruction for elementary-school students. He met his wife Maria (Mesires) during his first university teaching position in Oswego, New York, and they married on August 25, 1963, in Watertown, New York. Dr. and Mrs. Kaltsounis moved to Seattle when he joined the University of Washington faculty in 1967.

UW News wrote about his last book, The Democratization of Albania: Democracy from Within, in 2010.

Dr. Kaltsounis’s career was marked by the many creative programs he initiated and by his leadership in local and national organizations. One highlight was his 13-year project to help democratize Albania through reforming its education system. Funded by the U.S. Department of State, this project trained hundreds of educators and created curriculum materials to teach Albanian children the principles of democratic governance as the country emerged from decades of communism. In honor of his work there, Albania’s University of Elbasan created the Theodore Kaltsounis Center for Democratic Citizenship Education.

Dr. Kaltsounis also served as Chair of the UW Faculty Senate and as President of the National Council for the Social Studies. Dr. Kaltsounis authored many books, including one of Silver Burdett Ginn’s most successful social studies textbooks for elementary students. Active in university affairs even after his retirement, Dr. Kaltsounis spearheaded the creation of the UW Jackson School of International Studies’ Hellenic Studies Program and a study-abroad program for UW students to attend the University of Ioannina in Greece. A long-time member of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Dr. Kaltsounis served as parish council president and as a psalti (chanter) during services.

Apart from his teaching, research, and community activities, Dr. Kaltsounis enjoyed spending time with his family and close friends. He served as a Rotarian for over 30 years, loved to play tavli (Greek backgammon), and was a devout Husky football fan. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and brother, survived by his beloved wife of 52 years, Maria; his children Sophia (Chris) Tobe, George (Christina) Kaltsounis, and Andreas (Sarah) Kaltsounis; and his grandchildren Christina, Ariana, Nicholas, Theodore, Andrew, and Alexander. He is also survived by his younger siblings Yiannoula Beroukas, Vasilios “Bill” Kaltsounis, Kassiani Zikos, Orestes “Rusty” Kaltsounis, and Eleftheria Mpras, and their families, including many nieces, nephews, and godchildren.

Dr. Kaltsounis contributed his family’s history to the website Greeks in Washington.

A memorial service will be held at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church on Monday, December 21, at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the UW Hellenic Studies Program.

Words of comfort for the family may be shared at the Evergreen Washelli website.