Retired long-time Essex Elementary School teacher, Dionisia Constantine-Athans died peacefully at the age of 83 on Wednesday March 20, 2019 at the Ledgewood Rehabilitation Center after a long-term illness. She was the daughter of the late George K. and Nellie G. Constantine of Augusta, Maine and the wife of the late Nicholas J. Athans of Essex, Massachusetts. Born in Portland, Maine and educated in the Augusta School System, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education at Tufts University.
Her teaching experience included pre-school, kindergarten and first and third grades. Prior to teaching in the Essex School System, she was selected to teach in the first pilot Head Start Program in America. In addition, she held the position of adjunct faculty at the American School in Athens, Greece. Mrs. Athans taught fifth grade English and reading in Essex. Here she utilized her love of literature and art, along with museum experiences, to expose her students to a more complete set of sensory enhancements. Her method enabled her students to develop a confidence in the ability to see, understand and appreciate their world.
Following her retirement, her concern for seriously ill children from many countries, continents and religious denominations led her focus to fund raising for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Boston sponsored Philoxenia House in Brookline, Massachusetts. She characterized this commitment as the personal need to do something greater and more important than herself. In 2001 she received the Metropolitan Methodios Diocesan Award for her efforts and accomplishments.
She was a long-time faithful member of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church in Ipswich. She was a faithful sponsor of the Youth Program.
Mrs. Athans is survived by her 2 brothers: Deane G. Constantine of Damariscotta, ME and Louis George Constantine of Cincinnati, OH. She is also survived by 2 nieces and 2 nephews: Cynthia Olensky, Jane Cowles, John Cowles and Henry Cowles. She was also predeceased by her sister-in-law Anne Constantine formerly of Damariscotta, ME.
A funeral service will be at the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church, 8 Lafayette Road, Ipswich on Wednesday March 27th. at 10:00 A.M.. Burial will follow in the Spring Street Cemetery in Essex. Visiting hours will be Tuesday March 26th. from 5:00 to 8:00 P.M. in the Morris Funeral Home 45 North Main Street, Ipswich. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited. In lieu of flowers, and in accordance to her wishes, her brothers Deane and Louis request donations to the Philoxenia House, c/o Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church P.O. Box 6, Ipswich, MA 01938. To send a letter of condolence to Mrs. Athans’ family please go to: MorrisFH.com .