Omiros D. Zacharatos, 49, of Broomall, an electrician who loved working with his hands and reading ancient Greek texts, died at home Sunday, Dec. 29, after a yearlong battle with brain cancer.
He was the eldest son of Antonios and Niki Zacharatos. Born and raised in Upper Darby, he graduated in 1989 from Upper Darby High School, where he excelled in freestyle on the swim team.
Mr. Zacharatos was well-read and an intellectual, but found himself drawn to a profession that entailed working with his hands, said his brother Robert.
Mr. Zacharatos studied the commercial electrical trade at Delaware County Community College and then was certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He joined State Electric Co. in Norristown, becoming a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 in 2002, the union said.
He worked in Philadelphia running electrical lines into high-rise buildings, the city’s subway system, at 30th Street Station, and at the Sunoco oil refinery in Philadelphia. He often spoke of his friends on the job and the interesting sites in which he worked.
“He called one time, he was working in the Lincoln Financial Center,” said his brother Nicholaos. “They were doing the wiring for the jumbo screen. He was really proud of that.”
His favorite work site was the refinery where he illuminated outside storage tanks, set up generators, and did other tasks. “He enjoyed every minute of it,” said his brother Robert. “When he was diagnosed, he said that everything would be OK if he could just get back to work.”
In November 2018, Mr. Zacharatos began experiencing severe headaches. Doctors at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania diagnosed glioblastoma and then removed the tumor, but the cancer returned by August 2019. Further surgery wasn’t possible, so doctors ordered chemotherapy.
“I’m going to fight this,” Mr. Zacharatos told his brother Robert. His health declined in December. “The very last thing to go was his hands,” his brother said.
A cousin, George Kontaras, said Mr. Zacharatos enjoyed working on cars and figuring out construction and electrical problems. Once he figured out a problem, he would share the solution. “You’re in a jam, I’ll help you,” he would tell Kontaras.
Mr. Zacharatos enjoyed studying the classics. He read texts in ancient Greek and could speak the language. “He loved history,” said his brother Nicholaos. “He tried to find meaning in things that had happened. It was his way of understanding the world.”
In addition to his brothers, he is survived by his mother, Niki; another brother, Jerry; and nieces and nephews.
Before coming to the United States, the Zacharatos family lived on the island of Kefalonia, which is in the Ionian Sea off the western coast of Greece. When Mr. Zacharatos’ father died of lung cancer in 2018, the family took him back there for burial.
A viewing for Mr. Zacharatos will start at 10:15 a.m. Friday, Jan. 3, at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 229 Powell Lane, Upper Darby, Pa. 19082, followed by an 11 a.m. funeral. Burial will be at Washington Memorial Chapel Cemetery on Route 23 in Valley Forge National Historical Park, King of Prussia.