Bill Gonis, the President of the Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia (GOCSA), has unexpectedly passed away, the community announced on Wednesday. He was 62.
Gonis was one of the GOCSA’s longest-serving presidents and received the Order of Australia Medal in 2006.
Bill Gonis took over the GOCSA reins in January 2015 after years of experience in the corporate world and the community’s support and encouragement.
In a statement about Mr. Gonis’ passing, the Greek Orthodox Community said:
Mr Gonis was a humble man, an exemplary leader with a vision, and he will be sorely missed. We are deeply saddened and still in shock, as is the rest of the Multicultural Community, with his sudden passing. The Board and the Supervisory Committees of the Greek Orthodox Community of SA extend their sincere and deepest sympathies to the family.
Upon hearing the news of his passing, President of SAMEAC Adrianna Christopoulos also said: “Such incredibly sad news. Bill was such a humble man, a true gentleman and a community leader but besides all of that he was a good man and a friend. He will be sorely missed. My condolences to his family, friends and to the Greek Community.”
Gonis played a vital part in mobilizing the Greek-Australian community to help Greece in the aftermath of the deadly fire in east Attica at Mati in 2018. He banded together with local Greek associations to form a partnership with the Bank of Sydney and Delphi Bank to establish a community relief fund.
Gonis said at the time he was buoyed by the breadth of groups offering support to the Greek community, promising the committee would ensure that money raised in South Australia would go where it was most needed.
Both his parents migrated to Australia in 1956 from the Peloponnese in Greece. Bill Gonis is survived by wife Christine, son Peter, and daughter Betty.
Details of his funeral will be announced in due course.