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Community & Business

13 January, 2022

Pittsworth community farewells adopted son

Family and friends farewelled well-known, well-respected businessman Kleo Mylonas at a service in St Andrew’s Anglican Church on Monday afternoon.

Kleopas Demetriou Mylonas

Kleopas Demetriou Mylonas died on New Year’s Eve six weeks after his 92nd birthday, living at home until the final week with his beloved vegetable garden, fruit trees and birds.

Arriving in Pittsworth in 1957 with his wife Olympia (Missy), six months after their marriage, the couple built a new life in a new country, raising a family and running successful businesses for more than 50 years.

Through their talents and personalities, and those of their children and grandchildren, the name Mylonas became part of Pittsworth history.

Born and raised in Cyprus, 21-years-old shoemaker Kleo emigrated to Australia in 1951 following an older brother to Sydney.

Knowing little English on arrival, the first six years in his adopted country were spent working in factories, cane farms and cafés in Sydney, Tully, Brisbane and Charleville.

On 20 July 1957, he and Olympia opened their first business in Pittsworth, the Sunkist Café, in the premises now occupied by the vet surgery.

Sentinel advertisements in 1957 promise: ‘cooked and uncooked fish always available, freshly cut sandwiches, high quality cakes a speciality, quality small goods, hot meals at all hours (phone 246)’.

And all hours it was for Kleo and Olympia, working seven days a week while raising Jimmy (Demetrios), Konnie (Kostas), Chris (Chrysanthos) and Paul (Pavlos).

In 1960, the enterprising couple demolished premises further east along Yandilla Street and erected the new Sunkist Café, where Diner on the Downs is now, opening for trade in January 1961.

Twenty five years later, they repeated the process to build the new brick Olympia Arcade, opening their 4 Square store in December 1985, and operating both a café and supermarket for three years until selling the café.

Sadly, Olympia died suddenly in January 1992, but Kleo continued to run the 4 Square until 30 June 2008, having celebrated 50 years of business life in Pittsworth in July 2007.

At that time, sons Jimmy and Paul and his partner Naomi were working in the family store.

In October 2008, the town library moved into the vacated supermarket under a leasing arrangement with the newly formed Toowoomba Regional Council.

Monday’s funeral service was conducted by Charlie Uebergang with words of remembrance by Konnie Mylonas and Ros Scotney.

Konnie remembered his father as a family man, who loved cooking and to whom the phrase ‘work ethic’ applied on many levels - tireless, indefatigably busy, a man of high principles and compassion who advanced credit to customers when money was tight.

He recalled meeting a stranger in the city, years after leaving home, who wanted him to know how much Kleo had helped him when he was down.

Konnie also recalled family trips to Toowoomba snatched occasionally on Saturday’s between 1 o’clock when the café closed and 5pm when it re-opened.

Kleo and Olympia made one trip back to Cyprus in 1973 and Kleo did so twice in 2006 and 2014.

Ros Scotney paid tribute to the long and significant contribution Kleo Mylonas had made to the Pittsworth community.

She recounted her pride presenting Kleo with his Australian citizenship certificate in April 2010, formalising the belonging Kleo had felt for Pittsworth for decades.

Ms Scotney recalled as a young girl in the Sunkist Café asking Mrs Mylonas for a peek at the new baby (Jimmy) with his shock of jet black hair sleeping in a box under the counter, and the dozens of turkeys raised by the family, to be killed, dressed and sent to Toowoomba for cooking and returned to Pittsworth in time for Christmas orders.

Grand-daughter Larissa shared memories of Kleo before reading the poem God’s Garden and her daughter Allyra, Kleo’s eldest great grand-daughter, read the 23rd Psalm.

The service was followed by interment at the Pittsworth Cemetery.

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