submitted by Jim Cassimatis on 19.12.2011
Nick was born on 1/2/10 on the Island of Kythera in the small town of Tsikalaria. His family nickname was Xeros. While in Kythera, Nick became a Dancer. His dancing group consisted of one man (himself) and 16 women, something he was very proud of. He lived through the first world war as a child. Nick was an ambitious man and wanted to become independent so he went to Athens where he learned to become a Real Estate Agent. After he had learned the value of property he purchased his first property in Nea Smirni. Nick wanted to become a Doctor at about the time when the Second World War started, so he volunteered to serve as a Doctor's assistant during the war.
Soon after the war finished he left Greece (December 8th 1946) and went to America where he worked as a Journalist for the "Greek Star". During this time Nick travelled around America passing through all 52 states making many long time friends. These were the best years of his life. He talked about them often especially about the times he met with big time Hollywood Actors and Actresses including Maureen O'Hara. After three years his work visa expired. He wanted to go back to Greece but was advised not to by relatives due to the Greek Civil War, so instead he decided to go to Australia via Hawaii. In Hawaii he met with a local prominent business man who showed him around Honolulu.
On 4 September 1949 Nick arrived in Australia with only a few Dollars in his pocket like many other Greeks of that time. In Australia he first worked as a Cook. Later he was employed by an Australian Business and Real Estate Agency. Recognising that a large percentage of the Business Market was Greek, Nick opened his own Business & Real Estate Agency in 1951 and called it “CASSIM'S AGENCY” and focused on helping Greek immigrants setup in business, which were mainly Milk Bars and Fish & Chips Shops at the time. His most prosperous years were then to follow. Nick was a good and honest salesman. He would never attempt to sell anything that he did not believe in. Over the years Nick generated many satisfied Clients. Word spread all over NSW and at that time there was not a single Greek shop owner that did not know his name. Nick generated such a good reputation that he received a lot of his work through word-of-mouth.
Nick strongly believed in looking after his health. He always ate properly and exercised every morning at Coogee beach and soon after was invited to become the first Greek member of Coogee Surf Life Saving Club. He did not smoke and only drunk small amounts of alcohol with his meals to help with digestion. Nick had a great set of teeth which he kept until his last days.
Nick was a traditional Greek. In 1955 he decided it was time to get married so he wrote to his brother in Athens and asked him if a lady he had in mind was still available for marriage. His brother replied that she was already married, but her sister Bessy was still available and recommended her. After exchanging a few letters with Bessy, Nick decided to pay her way to Australia to marry her. Nick knew that Bessy came from a very well respected family and so assumed that she would be a good person to marry. The Marriage took place on 28 Oct 1955. In 1956 they both became Australian Citizens. Also, in 1956 Nick became president of the Kytherian Brotherhood of Australia and was instrumental in resolving a dispute that had caused the Brotherhood to split at that time. In 1957 Nick purchased a block of flats in Randwick where he mostly lived until his last days. In 1958 Son George was born and in 1959 Son James was born. Nick was a very proud and happy Father and loved his Sons very much. From that time Nick's whole life became dedicated to the future happiness of his Sons, and this continued until his last days.
In 1966 Nick decided to go back to Greece for one whole year. Nick loved his homeland and had many friends and relatives that he wanted to catch up with that he had not seen since before the war. He left his wife Bessy in control of the children and the family property and he left Bessy’s brother Peter Mellitas in control of the family business “CASSIM’S AGENCY” for the duration of his trip. After returning back to Australia, Nick hosted many informative slide nights, where he shared his experiences with the friends and relatives back in Sydney.
In 1974 Nick and Bessy were divorced due to differences in personality, objectives and upbringing.
In 1985 Nick sold his business and retired at the age 75, and then went back to Greece. In 1990 he returned to Australia and was diagnosed with prostate cancer and thyroid problems. As a result of his prostate cancer, the Doctors told him that he only had a maximum of ten years to live. Nick had a strong heart and a strong will to live. He put the thought out of his mind and went on living as if nothing had happen. Over the next six years Nick lived happily with his Sons close to him. In February of 1993 his son Jim was married to Stella Antoniou. In late1993 normal everyday tasks were becoming too difficult for him to manage alone. So he hired a live in carer to assist him.
In 1996 Nick's health started to deteriorate. In February Nick was admitted to Hospital for Radio therapy on his right leg where the prostate cancer had spread and was causing pain that was affecting his ability to walk. In April Nick was admitted to Hospital again, this time with a Urine Infection that had weakened him to the point where he could no longer walk. Each time the Doctors we astounded, as they did not expect him to recover. In early September Nick had another Urine Infection and was becoming too weak to be cared for at Home, so he was admitted to the Sacred Heart Hospice. During this time both Sons were in Greece as Son George was getting married to Collette Wise. Three days before the wedding Nick had a massive stroke and went into a coma. The Doctors called family and a priest as they were sure he was going to die. Miraculously he recovered. At this point the Doctors called Nick the man with 18 lives. On Tuesday 17 Sep 1996 Nick fell of the toilet seat in the Hospice and hit his head on the ground. The nurses picked him up and said that he appeared OK. On Tuesday night Nick had a number of visitors who said that he looked well. For some reason that night Nick asked for one of his Sons to be close to him. The next morning he was in a coma. On Wednesday night the Doctors operated on him to remove the blood clot that was causing the coma. Nick was strong. At 86 years of age he lived through the operation but never regained consciousness. His Son Jim arrived back from Greece on Saturday afternoon and Nick passed away at 5:14am on Sunday morning (22/9/1996). Nick was the last member of his family which made his loss an even greater loss to the extended family.
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