SAD LOSS: Hervey Bay icon Con Souvlis dies aged 92
CON Souvlis, business giant, war veteran, philanthropist, has died aged 92.
The loved local icon passed away peacefully at Baycrest Retirement Village early Saturday, his family has confirmed.
The Second World War veteran, who served in Bougainville as a 19-year-old, moved to the region from Brisbane in 1958, landing a job with Wal Pavey Real Estate.
"I learnt so much from working in the property business and that helped me to move into retailing in Hervey Bay," Mr Souvlis told the Chronicle in an earlier interview.
"I sold paint, boats and electrical goods before I took on the Betta franchise."
Owner of the Con Souvlis Betta Home Living franchise, which operates in both Hervey Bay and Maryborough, Mr Souvlis was far more than just a successful businessman.
He was also a generous philanthropist, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to projects and causes in the community over the years.
Mr Souvlis was born in Ingham in Queensland, the first child of Mick and Chrissanthi Souvlis from the rugged and remote Greek island of Kastelorizo. Even as a child he had a mind for business.
"My secret for success has been hard work since I was a kid selling fruit door to door," he said.
"Then I make sure I have good staff and my staff at Betta Electrical are the best.
"Some have been with me for decades."
Mr Souvlis' generosity was legendary.
In 2011, he made a $1000 donation after the tragic death of Senior Constable Damian Leeding, who left his wife and two young children behind.
Snr Const Leeding was shot when attending a robbery at Pacific Pines Tavern on the Gold Coast. In 2014, Mr Souvlis donated $25,000 to make the revamp of Hervey Bay's Freedom Park possible.
He also provided furnishings and whitegoods to Christensen House, the much-needed short-stay accommodation facility built near the new St Stephen's Hospital, at cost price.
He was a strong advocate for children's sport and provided sponsorship to AFL, hockey and football clubs throughout the area.
A date has not yet been set for Mr Souvlis' funeral.
He is survived by his children Chris, Tina, Shanna and Jonathan and his granddaughter Tyra.
A full tribute to Mr Souvlis' life will run in the Chronicle later this week.