Stella Louis Jatras (nee Katsetos) of Camp Hill passed away on 15 June 2013 at Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill. She was 81.
Born in Poughkeepsie, New York, she was the fourth and youngest daughter of Louis (Leonidas) and Marina Katsetos, originally of Sparta, Greece, and later of Harrisburg and Carlisle. She is survived by her husband of sixty years, Colonel George Jatras, USAF (Ret) of Camp Hill.
As a career military officer’s wife, Stella traveled widely and lived in several foreign countries where she not only learned about other cultures but became very knowledgeable regarding world affairs and world politics. She lived in Moscow for two years, where she worked in the Political Section of the U.S. Embassy. She also lived in Germany, Greece, and Saudi Arabia. Her travels took her to over twenty countries. In addition to the U.S. Department of State, her professional work included service with the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA and the Veterans Administration.
Prior to the civil war in Bosnia (1992-95), Stella’s primary interest in foreign affairs centered on the Soviet Union and the issues of the Cold War. She and her husband lectured on their experiences in the Soviet Union at the Naval War College, the Air Force Command and Staff College, and to many military and civic groups.
With the breakout of the war in Bosnia, Stella was appalled by the bias of the Western media, especially in the United States, and began her efforts to present to the American people a more accurate view of that tragic situation. She later expanded her commentaries to numerous foreign and domestic issues, with her letters and articles published in the Patriot-News, the Washington Times, the Washington Post, the Arizona Republic, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as a number of magazines and periodicals. In addition, her writings have had worldwide distribution via the Internet.
Stella’s efforts to set out the real story of the Balkans wars (Bosnia and Kosovo) were warmly appreciated by the Serbian community, where she is particularly well known. In September 1998, a luncheon was given in her honor in Washington, D.C., by the Serbian community of the National Capital Area. In June 1999, Mrs. Jatras was the main speaker at the 54th Annual Serbian Day Celebration of Canadian Serbs in Niagara Falls, Canada. In February 2004 she was presented with a “Gramota” (formal certificate) by Bishop Artemije of the province of Kosovo and Metohija for her efforts on behalf of the Serbian Orthodox people of his diocese.
Predeceased by her younger son Jeffrey and sisters Besse and Helen, Stella is survived, in addition to her husband George, by her sister Florence Katsetos of Harrisburg; by her son and daughter- in- law James and Kathy Jatras of Falls Church, Virginia; her daughter-in-law Laurie Jatras and her daughter Michelle Johnson of Larchmont, N.Y.; her three granddaughters Christina Jatras of Arlington, Virginia, Jillian Shupert (nee Jatras) and her husband Shawn of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Alexandra Schmalzbach (nee Jatras) and her husband Brian of Falls Church, Virginia; great grandchildren Aiden and Jack Shupert and Stella, Peter, and Josiah Schmalzbach; and nieces Jo Ellen Hoffman of Harrisburg, Maria Van der Meij and her son Ruben of Lancaster, Victoria Wood (nee Jatras) and her husband Steven Nadell of Takoma Park, Maryland, Christina Oliver of Cartersville, Georgia and nephew Dino Bekas and his wife Cindy, also of Cartersville.
Viewing will be held at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Camp Hill, [Pennsylvania] from 10:00 AM on Thursday, 20 June with the funeral service at 11:00 AM followed by interment at the East Harrisburg Cemetery.
[Note: the times indicated above are corrected times]
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 1000 Yverdon Drive, Camp Hill, PA 17011 or to the Wounded Warriors Project at www.WoundedWarriorProject.org
Driving directions to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Camp Hill, PA
In memory of Stella’s son, Jeffrey George Jatras, September 13, 1957 – November 19, 2011
News articles by Stella Jatras (Google search)
Stella Jatras archive on www.serbianna.com, author bio here
Stella Jatras Archive at Hellenic Communication Service, LLC
Stella Jatras articles at www.antiwar.com
References to Stella L. Jatras on www.freerepublic.com
References to Stella L. Jatras on www.pennlive.com
References to Stella L. Jatras on
Stella (Stavroula) Jatras RIP – Lacrimosa illa die…
Articles on 1389 Blog by or about Stella Jatras
Orthodox Christian Prayer for the Repose of Souls
With the saints give rest, O Christ, to the soul of Thy departed handmaid Stavroula, where there is neither sickness nor sorrow nor sighing, but life everlasting. Amen.
Remember, O Lord, the soul of Thy departed handmaid Stavroula and of all my kin according to the flesh. Also remember all those of our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, who have fallen asleep in the hope of resurrection and of the life eternal, and render unto them eternal memory.
Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend the soul of Thy departed handmaid Stavroula and pray to Thee to grant her rest, O Lord, in the place of Thy rest, where all Thy blessed saints repose, where the light of Thy countenance shineth. Grant that our lives may be godly, sober and blameless, that we may be worthy to meet her again in Thy Heavenly Kingdom. For Thou art the Resurrection and the Life and the Repose of Thy departed servants, O Christ our God, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Remember, O Lord, our parents and brethren who have fallen asleep in the hope of resurrection, and all those who have ended their lives in piety and faith. Forgive them all their transgressions, both voluntary and involuntary, committed by them in word or deed or in thought. Set them in bright places of light, in places of green pasture, in places of rest whence all pain, sorrow and sighing have fled away, and where the light of Thy countenance shineth and gladeneth forever all Thy saints. Grant unto them and unto us Thy Kingdom and participation in Thine ineffable and eternal blessings, and to delight in Thine unending and blessed life. For Thou art the Life, the Resurrection and the Repose of Thy servants who have fallen asleep, O Christ our God, and we render glory to Thee, with Thine Eternal Father, and with Thine All-holy, Gracious and Life-giving Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
June 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm
The loss of my friend Stella Jatras leaves a giant hole in my life and it will have a lasting impact on the defense of the Serbian people. In 1992 when the Bosnian Civil War began, our late mutual friend Nina Meyer, a Russian born in Belgrade, called to tell me that she recommended that Stella read my articles in the American Srbobran knowing that Stella was supportive of the Bosnian Muslims. She asked if she could give Stella my telephone number and would I speak with her?… the rest is now history.
Since 1992, Stella and I had daily telephone contact and constant emails to each other. We depended and supported each other and she became my ‘go to’ resource as she had one of the best archives in the country regarding the Balkans. At times when I could not locate my own articles, sure enough, Stella had a copy on her computer. And when her computer went down we both anguished the loss until she could get back up and running.
Over the years I have been critical of the Serbs for their lack of involvement in the dismemberment wars of former Yugoslavia, and the Serbs’ unwillingness to defend their own people, or their fear of picking up the telephone to call their elected representatives. My special criticism was for recent refugees who turned their backs on their own now that they have achieved personal freedom from the madness. Worse yet, was how Serbs remained silent as over 600 of our ancient Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries were blown up and destroyed in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. No one seemed willing to fight against this ugly collective guilt and the media demonization. Stella refused to give the media an inch.
When some crisis happened in Serbia or when someone in the media treated the Serbs badly I would receive dozens of calls from Serbs telling me “You have to write something in response.” I stopped counting the death threats. Many times when I was out of the office my wife would receive calls from Serbs demanding that I response. She always asked why they were not willing to respond? Stella and I would laugh at who got the most calls and who would write something. Based on the bigotry or hypocrisy we would decide that both of us would respond to see whose letter would get published first. Hundreds of times we were both disappointed that neither response would get published. But we kept encouraging each other not to give up the fight.
Choosing the name “Sparta” and the history of Greek fighters was more than appropriate for Stella’s penname. That spirit and her commitment was in the marrow of her bones and fighting against dishonesty, hypocrisy, lies and fabrications gave her strength to continue the battle and the rape of the truth—the first victim of these Balkan wars. With George’s military career and their involvement in foreign countries they felt betrayed by their own country and could not believe the lost of ethics and morality by our own State Department. She was outraged at the events that took place in Benghazi and the lost of 4 American lives and rightfully so. It revealed the depth to which our politicians can stoop.
In recent months as I have been putting the finishing touches on my new book, Memoirs of a Serbian-American Dissident. Stella would remind me of certain letters and articles that I had to include in the book or pictures that should be a part of my memoir. How grateful I am that I included her recent letter to the Patriot News regarding organ harvesting of Serbian victims. I pulled back the book this week from Bookbaby, my distributor, so that I could dedicate the book to Stella. I am pushing to get the book published on June 28th, Vidovdan. For me, Stella has a special place of honor at this religious commemoration.
Prince Lazar teaches us that “One of the main characteristics of Kosovo is the idea of a conscious, a willing sacrifice for noble ideals, a sacrifice of one individual for the benefit of the rest, a sacrifice now for the sake of a better future…. the Kosovo spirit is the revolutionary spirit of justice, humanity, equity, equality of rights, with a noticeably democratic and progressive quality of respect for the rights of all other people.”
Stella made Serbians proud that a Greek woman cared so much about dignity, honor, integrity and truth that she put her life on hold to defend us. “Memory Eternal” does not seem adequate to celebrate her life and the important work that she accomplished. I believe that in the future Serbs will sing her praises. I will truly miss our special friendship.
June 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm
I can accept that Our Lord has decided that it was time for Stella Jatras to go to her eternal reward; yet the loss is ours. I am having a very difficult time dealing with this. I am tremendously grateful to you for all of the work that you have done. All I can say is that we will keep her legacy alive in our works.
WE ARE SPARTA!