Nestor Harpending Palladius (1924-2008), RIP

OBITUARIES (Eugene, Oregon Register-Guard), January 17, 2008

Nestor Palladius of Eugene died Jan. 3 of lung cancer. He was 83. A service will be later. He was born Aug. 31, 1924, in San Francisco to George and Genevieve Harpending Palladius. He and his wife of 35 years, Carol Wilshire Palladius, were married in Seattle. She died July 28, 2007. Palladius was a manufacturer’s representative for children’s clothing. He is survived by a son, Charlie Wilshire of Eugene. Arrangements by Musgrove Family Mortuary in Eugene.

Nestor Palladius was the closest I had to a big, or any, brother. He was kind to me as a child and throughout my life until our family became estranged from him when I was around 35 and Nestor was around 47—approximately 1982.

Nestor was the only child of George D. Papageorge and Mary Genevieve Harpending. Nestor’s father died in 1934 when Nestor was ten years old. He and his mother then came under the care of Conrad Pavellas, aged 21. Conrad was the son of Alexander Pavellas and Clara Lucille Harpending. The Harpending women were sisters, daughters of Asbury Harpending, Jr. Conrad’s parents also died in 1934. Alexander and George were friends and business partners—and brothers-in-law.

Conrad married Artemis Pagonis in December 1935, sometime after which Nestor and his mother moved on their own to a boarding house.

Nestor had poor hearing from an early age, and I knew him always to wear a hearing aid. He was almost deaf by the time he reached his middle years. He also had bad teeth, as my dad did, and there were constant problems with dentists and dental prostheses for both of them.

Nestor’s formal education was spotty and incomplete, but his older relatives were intelligent, literate and voluble—all enjoying the conversational argument. His father, George, was the leader of the family, a dominant and, apparently, classically educated immigrant from Samos, Greece. He was a talented promoter of ideas and enterprises. He was, at one time, the business manager for Raymond Duncan who was the brother of, and sometimes business partner with, Isadora Duncan, the internationally famous dancer and revivalist of ancient Greek dance forms. Isadora and Raymond were highly influential in the cultural life of the sisters.

Nestor’s mother and aunt were the daughters of a once-wealthy, Kentucky-born adventurer, Asbury Harpending, Jr., who came to San Francisco at age 16 during its development as the center of commerce in the Gold Rush era. The entire family lived in Oakland, but Asbury also had a house in Mill Valley. He died in 1923 while on a business trip to New York. Nestor was born a year later. Asbury came upon hard times toward the end of his life and did not leave much to his family, which remained in Mill Valley.

The family continued to live together, their income being from a Greek-American newspaper, The Prometheus, published in San Francisco, owned and operated by the brothers-in-law (probably with some debt against it), and by various promotional deals some of which later seemed shady to historians. This continued into The Great Depression when businesses and deals were failing. This uncertain situation contributed to the mental collapse of Clara Lucille, Nestor’s aunt, who died in the state mental hospital in Napa, California, in 1934, the same year her husband and brother-in-law died as noted above. Nestor was 10. Conrad, his cousin and guardian was 21 and had to drop out of U.C. Berkeley in his senior year.


About Ron Pavellas

Expatriate Californian living in Sweden with wife. Retired from employment in the USA. Currently focused on blog articles, memoirs, and creative writing.
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