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Leonidas C. Polopolus

Leonidas C. Polopolus (Leo) passed away Monday, August 17, from injuries suffered in an auto accident on July 31. He was 82 years old.

Leonidas was born in San Bernardino, California in 1933 where his parents, Constantine and Irene Gatsos Polopolus, were fruit and vegetable growers. Leonidas received his B.S. degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of California, Davis with highest honors and his PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Polopolus was a professor at the University of Florida (UF) from 1969 - 1996, and taught at the undergraduate and graduate level on a variety of topics, including marketing, micro economic theory, labor, agribusiness, public policy and the economy of modern Greece. In addition to UF, he also was a professor at Louisiana State University (LSU) (1960 - 1965), and a visiting professor at the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute in Crete, the Athens Agricultural University, and Santa Clara University.

While at the University of Florida, Dr. Polopolus was Assistant Dean of the Graduate School (1969-1973), Chair of the Food and Resource Economics Department (1973-1983), and Co-Director of the Center for Agricultural Law (1982-1987). He was a Co-Founder of the UF Center for Greek Studies in 1980, and remained Co-Director until 2004.

A few of Dr. Polopolus' honors include: President (1983) and Fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association, Editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, President of the Faculty Senate of the University of Florida, and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Agricultural Economics Association.

Dr. Polopolus testified on numerous occasions before the U.S. Senate and House committees on labor, immigration, agriculture, trade and budget policy issues. He served as consultant to the U.S. Secretary of Labor during the Kennedy administration and as consultant to the National Commission on Productivity during the Nixon administration. He was the author of 300 publications including two books “Marketing Sugars and Other Sweeteners” and “Vegetable Markets in the Western Hemisphere,” book chapters, professional journal articles, and papers.

In 1975 Leo founded the Embros Orchestra, serving as band leader. He played clarinet, alto sax, soprano sax, and flute, sang many of the vocals, and composed several original Greek songs. The band performed live at Greek community functions, weddings, and local restaurants including Sandy's Place and Satchel's, and released one cassette tape and three CDs. The most recent incarnation of the band included his daughter Eleni and son-in-law David.

Leo was an active member of the Kiwanis Club of Gainesville and the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) since 1970, holding various leadership positions throughout his years of involvement. Since 1980, Leo was active with the Greek Orthodox community of Gainesville, as President, Treasurer, and Choir Director, and was instrumental in the establishment of St. Elizabeth the Wonderworker Greek Orthodox Church of Gainesville. For many years he had been working to raise funds for the Church's fellowship hall.

With his wife Jean, Leo founded Arcadian Farms in 1986 and began farming as a hobby, eventually becoming a regular vendor at the Downtown and Haile Farmers Markets where he sold his pecans, peaches, persimmons, and other fruits, as well as a wide variety of vegetables he had grown.
Leo is survived by his wife, Jean Polopolus of High Springs, his sister Helen Tasulis of Lewiston, NY, his daughters Eleni Sheehan (Terry) and Peggy Ford (David) of Gainesville, and his grandsons Matt, Terry and Patch.

In lieu of flowers, please honor Leo's memory with a contribution to the Building Fund of St. Elizabeth Greek Orthodox Church. Arrangements are in the care of Milam Funeral and Cremation Services, 311 S. Main Street, Gainesville, FL 32601. (352) 376-5361. - See more at: