St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on May 22, 1989 · Page 23
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 23

St. Louis, Missouri
Issue Date:
Monday, May 22, 1989
Page 23
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15 MAY 22 1989 4A ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH MONDAY, MAY 22, 1989 'Unsolved Mystery9 Solved; Man With Fortune Identified KANSAS CITY (AP) The mystery of a man who left an unexplained fortune of about $190,000 when he died seven years ago has been solved. Jackson County Probate Judge John A. Borron ruled Thursday that the man known as George Marsh when he died in a nursing home in Kansas City was actually Joseph Zelenka. The judge decided that 24 heirs would divide Zelenka's fortune. The county took control of Zelenka's wealth when he died with no known relatives. But a break appeared in the mystery almost two years after the story was aired on the television show "Unsolved Mysteries." Eleanor Tolar, 72, of Rock Springs, Wyo., Zelenka's niece, saw her' high school graduation picture on television on the show. The photo had been found among Zelenka's possessions. She and other relatives pulled together birth certificates, photos and other documents linking them to a relative whom they had not seen since 1933. Borron ruled that one-fourth of the $190,000, minus about $5,000 in court administrative costs, would go to the surviving brother, James Zelenka, 92, of Rock Springs, Wyo., and that the rest would be split among more distant relatives. Grant Christensen, James Zelenka's son-in-law and spokesman for the family, said Thursday that they would have their relative's body flown back to the Wyoming family plot as soon as paper work clears in a month or two. "It's kind of like bringing him home,"' he said. Joseph Zelenka always had been mysterious, and the family had looked for him for years, Christensen said. "Even as a young man he would appear out of nowhere with large sums of money," he said. "He also was a very nice man, but he always had a different woman with him." James Zelenka speculated in a letter to the court that Joseph used an alias because he did not want to hurt the family name. He was born in 1888 in Croatia, now part of Yugoslavia, and came to the United States with the family around the turn of the century, he said. Husband Charged In West By Bill Bryan and Tim Novak Of the Post-Dispatch Staff , A former restaurant owner was charged Sunday with first-degree inurder in the killing of his wife Saturday at the couple's mansion in the Central West End, police said. The suspect, Michael Athanaisades, 47, was released about 5 p.m. Sunday on $100,000 bond. He is charged with murdering his -wife, Georgia Athanaisades, 34, who was shot in the head and side about 5 p.m. Saturday at the couple's home at .32 Westmoreland Place. Michael Athanaisades told homicide detectives that he had shot his wife in self-defense after she attacked him with a knife. ' Authorities said they did not believe tis story. They said a friend of the 'victim had told them that Michael Athanaisades threatened less than a" week ago to kill his wife. Homicide Sgt. John Roussin said 7 Killed In Spain HOSPITALET DE LLOBREGAT, Spain (AP) An elevator fell from - the seventh floor of a hospital Sunday, killing all seven people aboard. - Firefighters used special equipment to pull the bodies from the twist- ed metal of the elevator, which fell into the basement of Bellvitge Hospital. " ;r, ; V'" ' , ' r v::-..; -. I ITiTDOT . - (: liyii f : U ItJUJ B --m ' '"''' J Georgia Athanaisades had wanted to return to Greece, where she has relatives. She had said she was going to take the couple's only child, Steve, who is nearly 3 years old, he said. Michael Athanaisades apparently was angry over his wife's plan, Roussin said. Sources said Georgia Athanaisades had returned to Greece recently to bury her father, who had died in St. Louis. Her father and mother had retired and returned to Greece, but her father came back to St. Louis for medical treatment. Authorities learned of the shooting after Michael Athanaisades telephoned a friend who is a police officer and told him to come over right away. The couple had been married about 10 years, said Georgia Athanaisades' brother, Theo Zavradinos of the St. Louis area. He declined to comment further. Police said Michael Athanaisades has a daughter from a previous marriage who lives with her mother. Michael Athanaisades owned Uncle Bill's Pancake House at 3427 South Kingshighway until he sold it about a year ago, a family friend said Sunday. He bought the restaurant about six or seven years ago, said Lou Politis, owner of the Majestic Restaurant, 4900 Laclede Avenue. Before he bought Uncle Bill's, Michael Athanaisades owned two barber shops in the Central West End, Politis said. White Haven Group By Mark Schlinkmann Of the Post-Dispatch Staff A leader in efforts to save White Haven, the old Ulysses S. Grant homestead, has accused the VP Fair Foundation of failing to follow through on a commitment to help pay for the home's acquisition. "I am aggravated they took all the accolades and never did a thing," state Rep. Jack Goldman, the president of Save Grant's White Haven Inc., said in an interview Friday. "I'm ready to blast them." The Post-Dispatch reported last week that the VP Fair organization was reconsidering its decision last' year to reimburse St. Louis County the $250,000 that the county had spent to buy White Haven. The VP Fair group's reconsideration comes amid the county government's decision this year not to donate money to the fair. In response, Ronald E. Henges, general chairman of the fair foundation, said Saturday that the fair organization had never intended to "steal anyone's thunder" on White Haven and only had wanted to help out. "We appreciate very much the efforts of Mr. Goldman and his committee in saving White Haven," Henges said. "We in no way want to take credit for anything they have done. It was End Killing "I've known him for about 32 years," Politis said. "I thought he was a good man. I socialized with him somewhat I just couldn't believe what I heard. "I didn't think he or any of my friends could do something like this," he added. "I still don't. Everybody in the Greek community is talking about it." Politis said he last saw Michael Athanaisades a couple of weeks ago when he and some friends stopped by the Majestic Restaurant for coffee. "He was hard headed. You couldn't tell him anything," Politis said. "He was at times unreasonable. If you told him this was a glass of water, he would say prove it." Michael Athanaisades and his wife were born in Greece but met in St. Louis, Politis said. "Georgia, we all knew her as Zeta," he said. "She was a fun-loving girl. She was younger than Mike, but that doesn't mean anything. They got married in Greece." Georgia Athanaisades has a sister and two brothers, her brother said. Georgia and Michael Athanaisades were members of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at Kingshighway Boulevard and Forest Park Avenue, but they seldom attended services, members of the church said. No information was available on who was caring for the Athanaisades' son. ; 7 i, ' l not the intent of the VP Fair to run around and do things to get publicity." White Haven, at 9060 Whitehaven Drive in south St. Louis County, sits just off Gravois Road near Grant's Farm. It was a childhood home of Grant's wife, Julia. Grant lived there from 1854 to 1859 and visited there frequently in later years. He sold the home shortly before he died, in 1885. After efforts by Save Grant's White Reagan9 s College Gets $1.5 Million Donation EUREKA, III. (AP) Former President Ronald Reagan is the most famous graduate of Eureka College, but he's nearly been upstaged by a gift from another alumnus that will help fund an exhibit in his honor. The college in this central Illinois town received $1.5 million over the weekend to help pay for construction of a $3 million student center. The donation came from Donald B. Cerf, a California businessman and friend of Reagan. The center will be named in Cerf's honor, said college president George A. Hearne. The Donald B. Cerf College Center will be a 33,000-square-foot center housing all student services and a conference center. The conference center will include a 400-seat auditorium and a permanent exhibit honoring Reagan. "This is by far our most significant gift," said college spokeswoman Lynn Beer. "We have received some donations, but nothing like this." Cerf said the gift is his way of repaying the college for a quality education. Is Angry At I am aggravated they took all the accolades and never did a thing. 19 JACK GOLDMAN, president of Save Grant's White Haven Inc. Haven Inc., the St. Louis County government paid $510,000 in 1986 to buy the home from private owners and to save it from demolition. Half of the money came from a county bond issue and half from a loan from the state of Missouri. The county has been unable to renovate the facility to allow its opening to the public. A bill has been introduced in Congress to require the National "It is my pleasure to be back at Eureka after 40 years," Cerf said Saturday. "I was sure I was long forgotten, I've been absent so long. "Still, Eureka College remains a very, very fundamental part of my thinking and philosophy. In this small way, I'm giving a form of recognition to the basis of learning I wouldn't have received had I not attended Eureka." Cerf, who lives in Los Angeles, was involved in Reagan's election campaigns and headed a nine-member task force from California that served as a think tank for Reagan and his staffers. The Senate also has honored Cerf for his work with the Republican Senatorial Inner Circle. Cerf said he had not told Reagan of his gift. He said he did not want the former president to misunderstand and feel a need to outdo his friend. The college's Reagan exhibit will feature a display of memorabilia that the former president, a 1932 Eureka graduate, has donated from his days as governor of California and president. VP Fair Park Service to take it over. Last year, the VP Fair announced that it would donate $250,000 to the county over a five-year period to retire part of the county's debt. A group of private donors organized by Jerry Schober, superintendent of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, would pay the remaining $250,000 needed to retire the county's debt. Plans called for the county and the state to give the property to the federal government. , St. Louis County gave the fair $50,000 last year and $150,000 in 1987. Henges said Saturday that the fair had yet to decide whether to cancel Its pledge to turn back $50,000 to the county for White Haven in each of the next five years. Henges said he understood that Schober's group had succeeded in raising its $250,000. Wayne Kennedy, county parks director, said Saturday that he was un- -able to comment on whether the county eventually would just donate the property to the federal government and absorb the costs already paid out "That's a policy decision that needs to be made by the county executive and the county council," Kennedy said. But he said "everybody" in county government "feels it should be a federal project and not a county project." Mid-Air Crash Kills 2 People In Plane BRADFORD, Vt. (AP) - Two small airplanes collided in air on Sunday along the New Hampshire-Vermont border, sending one hurtling into a river and killing both people aboard. The other plane landed safely on a highway. State police and witnesses said they were amazed that the pilot of the one plane had been able to land safely because his windshield was shattered by what appeared to be a tail piece from the other plane. The pilot was identified as Zachary Clark of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He and . his passenger, a woman whose name was withheld, were listed in fair condition Sunday night at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover, N.H. The two people who were killed were reported to be from New Hampshire, although their names also were withheld. They were believed to have been flying out of Lebanon, N.H. According to police and witnesses, Clark's plane apparently was headed south when the other plane crossed . slightly above it about 1 p.m., heading southeast. A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said six months might go by before a formal report on the cause of the accident is completed. The spokesman said neither plane was under FAA traffic control at the time of the crash.

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