Louis Canelakes, 58, of Dallas passed away on Sunday, November 10, 2013 at St. Paul Hospital in Dallas. He will always be remembered as a loving husband, father and friend to all that knew and loved him.
He was born on June 25, 1955 to Alexandra and James Canelakes in Waukegan, Illinois.
His friends and loved ones called him Lou or Louie – and he was an extraordinarily intelligent and generous man. He was famous for his devotion to his wonderful family, for creating one of the iconic restaurants in Texas, and for his many acts of kindness to both friends and strangers.
With the help of his brother and other family members, he built one of the most famous gathering spots in the history of Dallas: "Louie's" was named after him and it was a treasured meeting place for people from all walks of life. The legendary institution has won many accolades and it attracted a fiercely loyal following – people who were drawn there not only by the fine food and beverages, but by the chance to meet Lou in person.
Those who encountered him said, simply, that he was the most wise and most kind man they had ever met. With his equally generous and thoughtful wife Bette, he was the perfect parent to three talented, wonderful and inspiring children. His family was his world, and he loved his family with a profound, heartfelt depth.
Lou quietly helped many, many people who needed a lending hand. But he did it with great humility, and he routinely deflected praise -- and offered his aid without any need for attention. He treated all people as equals -- whether it was the First Lady of the United States or a homeless man he quietly helped to survive the streets of Dallas.
He worked late into the night to provide for his family, and to honor his mother and father. He was a man among men, someone who understood the value of hard labor and loyalty. It was a rare day that he did not report to work, to mentor his colleagues, to help solve the world's problems with the journalists, politicians, judges and spiritual leaders who came to glean his counsel.
In time, the many journalists who came to see him realized that he possessed greater skills than any prizewinning reporter - he listened to people at a deep level, he heard their stories, he drew stories out of them. And he kept faithful to their wishes, he treated their sagas with dignity and discretion. He was committed to the truth, suffered no fools and was intolerant of bullies, braggarts and the mean-spirited.
He knew poetry, philosophy, music, art, sports and cuisine. He knew history, economics, architecture and world affairs. He knew the simple pleasures of a cane sugar soda, how to nurture an olive tree, what a thrill it was to see a thoroughbred horse race across the finish line. As a young man, he saw the guiding brilliance of his parents -- and he made sure to care for them, to be with them, to be like them. His father was his hero and he afforded his father enormous respect -- even making sure that his dad would enjoy the finest seats at the Frank Sinatra concerts.
As a young man, Lou devoured books and ideas at a breathtaking pace, and he possessed a photographic memory. He knew names, numbers, statistics, someone's favorite drink. The phone at his establishment would often ring with someone calling with a need for his encyclopedic brilliance - he could answer any question posed to him.
He was, his family and friends all agreed, a true role model – an unpretentious, honest man who lived life to the fullest, who loved his mother, father, wife, brother and children with all his heart. He stood up for the underdog, and always walked in the sunshine. He was a man who made the world a much better place through his strength, his caring nature and his righteous soul.
Those who came to know him were blessed by his presence – and his spirit will always be there to guide and protect the ones he loved.
Survivors include his wife of 22 years, Bette, of Dallas, Texas; children Elizabeth, Jake and Nicole; brother Christopher Canelakes and his wife Bonnie; mother Alexandra; Boston sisters-in-law, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father in 1995.
A Funeral Service will be at 10 a.m. Friday November 15 at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 13555 Hillcrest Road, Dallas, Texas 75240. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery, Dallas, Texas. The visitation will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, November 14 at Sparkman-Hillcrest Funeral Home followed by the Trisagion. In lieu of flowers Memorials may be made to the Texas Food Bank (www.tfbn.org
) and Humane Society of Dallas County (www.dognkittycity.org
Online condolences can be made at www.Sparkman-Hillcrest.com.