Obituary: Charles Kirkiles
Charles Kirkiles, 96, long time resident of Greenwich, CT, died peacefully Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, CT, surrounded by his loved ones. Born August 19, 1923, in Lowell, Massachusetts, he was the son of Aristomenis and Eleftheria Kirkiles.
Charles worked as a steelworker at Crucible Steel in New Jersey and then in 1942 with the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted in the US Navy. He was awarded the Army Good Conduct Medal, the American Theatre Campaign Ribbon, Asiatic Pacific Ribbon, and the Victory Ribbon. During his Naval career, he served as a motor mechanic on numerous vessels and stations in the Pacific Theatre. On January 1946, Charles was honorably discharged as a Motor Mechanist’s Mate, First Class Petty Officer.
Following his discharge from the Navy, Charles attended night school at Pace University while working two jobs. Following night school, he worked the late shift in the counting house at Chase Manhattan Bank, where he would then transport cash to the Federal Reserve. Once this job was complete, he would commute uptown where he worked the early mornings as a short order cook until midday. Lucky to catch a little sleep, he was able to complete a five-year program in just three years.
As a child growing up during the depression in Washington Heights, he was often found on the fire escape, where he would escape the sweltering heat of his 4th floor apartment, by immersing himself in books. This love of reading and books, continued throughout his life. He was a major donor of the New York Public Library, as he believed he owed this institution a debt of gratitude; having educated himself among the stacks at the 42nd street branch.
In 1952, he co-founded Kirkiles & Kotiadis in New York; a certified public accountant specializing in the engineering, accounting, research and management sectors. In addition, he had principle interests in shipping, and import/export. He also earned a New York State Real Estate Broker’s license in 1956 and participated in numerous real estate ventures throughout his life, even a few with his grandson.
On October 12, 1968, he married Catherine Wells of New York, N.Y. They resided in Manhattan then Riverdale, NY before moving to Greenwich, CT in 1978.
He shared a love of traveling with his wife, and they enjoyed many trips to Europe, Jerusalem, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, South America, and the Bahamas, to name a few. Once Charles became a grandfather, he shared his love of traveling with his grandchildren.
He was a very giving and supporting man, who people often turned to when they sought advice. He actively donated to his church parish, the Republican Party, Boy Scouts of America, Veterans organizations, Greenwich Hospital, New York and Greenwich Libraries, to name a few. He helped numerous people throughout his life, children of which are now CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies and titans of industry who owe their education to Charles.
Although he retired in his 60’s, it was not until his early 90’s that his family was able to convince him to fully retire. Above all, Charles will be remembered for being devoted to his wife, sons, friends, clients, and most importantly his grandchildren.
Charles was a beloved husband of 48 years to Catherine Kirkiles of Greenwich, CT, who predeceased him, as well as his son George Wells of Greenwich, CT. He is survived by his son Michael Wells, and his wife Helen Wells, of Goldens Bridge, NY; his daughter-in-law Voula Lekas Wells of Greenwich, CT; five grandchildren, Konstantine and Katharine Wells of Greenwich, CT; and Steven, Nicholas, and Andrew Wells of Goldens Bridge, NY. In addition, he was a loving brother to Arthur Kirkelis of Las Vegas, NV who predeceased him, and he leaves behind his sister-in law Shirley “Effie Kirkelis-Almgren of Las Vegas, NV; his nephews Stephen T. Kirkelis of Las Vegas, NV, Damion Kirkelis of San Ramon, CA, and Jason Kirkelis and wife Kellee Kirkelis of Westlake Village, CA; and great-nephews Kelson Kirkelis, Jaxson Kirkelis, Kason Kirkelis, and Jameson Kirkelis of Westlake Village, CA.
Call ing hours were Sunday, September 22 at the Fred D. Knapp & Son Funeral Home, 267 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich. A service to celebrate Charles’ life will be held on Monday, September 23 at 10:30 a.m. at the Church of the Archangels, 1527 Bedford Street, Stamford, CT. Interment with Military Honors will immediately follow at Putnam Cemetery, 35 Parsonage Road, Greenwich.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to The New York Public Library, 445 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016.