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John Philip Michaels

John Michaels

“John The Greek”

10/1/1955 — 11/8/2019

Rest in Paradise

John Michaels “John The Greek,” 64, of Tampa, FL (formerly of South Jersey & Danbury, CT) passed away this past Friday, Nov 8th, 2019 from melanoma cancer to eternally rest in paradise.  John was the father of Gianna and Phil Michaels.  He was a 2nd-generation immigrant, son of Evelyn Pappajohn & Philip Michaels (originally Philopimen Mihalakopoulos) of Nea Michaniona, Thessaloniki, Greece.

John lived a full life from serving in the US Army as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagles” during the Vietnam era, to being on ABC’s Good Morning America for mining gold in Peru, to bartending and limousine driving at Showboat Casino in Atlantic City, to even walking dogs, and bartending at the Straz Performing Arts Center in Tampa.  He was the epitome of the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” raised by seven incredible Greek women (his mother, his yiayia, and five Greek sisters), but also sprayed Windex on everything, including his dirty dishes, further validating the Greek notion that Windex can be used for everything.


He lives on through his family’s name and survivors: his daughter & son: Gianna & Phil Michaels, John’s sisters: Gina, Thalia, Stephanie, Athena (d), & Elaine, wife: Liz Donahue Michaels, nieces & nephews: Patrick, Brendan, Shawn, Michael, Ashley, Marty, Athena, Andrew, & Robert, step son: Ryan, and step grandchildren: Paige, Ryan, & Klhoe.

He also lives on through aunts, uncles, and cousins both here in the United States and in Greece that include the Mihalakopoulos Family, Pappajohn Family, and Donahue Family.


John graduated from Danbury High School in Connecticut. He served in the US Army as a paratrooper, went on to travel the world: diving near islands off the coast of Honduras, to mining gold in Peru. Those who knew him well, knew he loved to embark on a new adventure, party, and loved getting a tan at the beach. Then, he went on to become a limousine driver and bartender at Showboat Casino in Atlantic City, where he provided services to some of the top celebrities at that time. He had two children, married, and then moved on to live in Tampa, Florida where he was a bartender at the Straz Performing Arts Center, walked dogs, and volunteered at St. John The Baptist Greek Orthodox Church.

John loved celebrating life, being happy, and aimed to make those around him laugh and savor the precious moments in life. You have your own special moment and memory with John that will forever live on through your heart and mind.


Some of his last wishes were to ensure that we play his favorite song, “Europa,” by Carlos Santana in his memory and that we come together to eat Greek food and celebrate his life being happy! Opa!


When: Friday, November 22nd, 2019

Viewing & Service

Time: 8a – 10a

LOCATION: St. John The Baptist Greek Orthodox Church 2418 W. Swann Ave Tampa, FL 33609


Time: 1:00pm

Location: Sarasota National Cemetery, 9810 State Rd 72, Sarasota, FL 34241



Time: 5:30p – 9p

Location: Acropolis Greek Taverna (Kennedy Location) 3023 W. Kennedy Blvd. Tampa, FL 33609

Let’s all cheer and reminisce…In Dad’s words, “Let’s get this party started!” Opa!



Floral donations in John’s memory can be sent to be delivered by Thurs, Nov. 21st to “ATTN: John Michaels Funeral” St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, 2418 W. Swann Avenue, Tampa, FL 33609


Charitable donations can be made in John’s name. Since Dad was an army veteran who served his Greek church, loved dogs, and fought cancer, we suggest the following three organizations:

  1. St. John The Baptist Greek Orthodox Church at
  2. American Cancer Society at
  3. Warrior Canine Connection (they train veterans to train service dogs for fellow veterans) at

Arrangements handled by Veterans Funeral Care in Clearwater, FL.


Services will be taking place on Friday November 22nd, 2019.  Viewing/Visitation will be hosted at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church (2418 West Swann Ave, Tampa, 33609) from 8:00am to 9:00am.  Traditional Funeral Ceremony will follow beginning at 9:00am.  After church, John will be laid in eternal rest at Sarasota National Cemetery (9810 SR 72, Sarastoa, 34241) with full military honors at 1:00pm.   Arrival at cemetery is encouraged between 12:30 and 12:55.

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