Joanne Saporta, of Elmhurst, passed away on May 24, 2020. The first beloved daughter born to Stephen and Dorothy Kotsiakos on January 15, 1934, Joanne was a loving sister to Christine (deceased). She is survived by three sons, Stephen, John and Victor, and is also survived by her granddaughter, Zoe.

A philanthropist and artist, Mrs. Saporta founded Refuge, Inc., Chicago’s first not-for-profit organization dedicated to establishing a place where asymptomatic persons infected with the human immunodeficiency virus could meet in fellowship and safety. A devoutly religious woman of the Greek Orthodox faith, Mrs. Saporta was a steward of Assumption Panagia Greek Orthodox Church of Chicago, as well as a member of Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church of Westchester and St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church of Elmhurst.

Mrs. Saporta volunteered her time and considerable talent as an effective fundraiser, as well as her own private capital to a number of charitable organizations including, without limitation: The Jewish United Fund, The Howard Brown Health Center, Chicago House and Test Positive Aware Network. Mrs. Saporta was a patron of the arts, and together with her beloved husband David, was a sustaining member of The Art Institute of Chicago, a contributor to both The Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as a member of the Elmhurst Art Guild.

A private, traditional, graveside service was officiated by Reverend Dr. Peter J. Spiro, Proestamenos of Assumption Panagia Greek Orthodox Church of Chicago, on Saturday, May 30, at Elmwood Cemetery in River Grove. The family expresses its deep gratitude to Father Spiro for his decades long service to our family and to the Panagia Parish. The family also thanks Eugene Gerardi and Peter Talso of Gerardi Funeral Home in Frankfort, who provided extraordinarily professional and personal service, comfort and guidance.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions in memory of Mrs. Saporta be made directly to Assumption Panagia Greek Orthodox Church, 601 S. Central Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60644; (773) 626-3114; or visit


Comments are closed

Sorry, but you cannot leave a comment for this post.