Louis “Lou” Demetrios Pappan

Louis “Lou” Demetrios Pappan

May 30, 1930 - April 11, 2023

Louis “Lou” Demetrios Pappan

May 30, 1930 - April 11, 2023


Louis “Lou” Demetrios Pappan passed away April 11, 2023 at 7:11 am in his home in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania surrounded by his loving family.  Lou was 92 years old.

Lou was born in 1930 as Elias Demetrios Papanikolaou to his father, Demetrios Elias Papanikolaou and his mother, Vasiliki Papanikolaou in the village of Makrakomi, Greece. Although his exact birthday is unknown, it is celebrated on May 30th of each year. Lou was the fourth born of seven (7) children.  Much of his childhood took place during the Nazi occupation of Greece and the subsequent Greek Civil War.  His village stricken with poverty as a result of war, Lou dreamed of a better life.

In 1951 at the age of 21, Lou immigrated to the United States to pursue the American dream of success and prosperity. He was invited to stay with his uncle, Louis (Elias) Nellas, who hired Lou to work in his bar in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. Two years later, Lou joined the United States Army and served in the 101st Airborne Division during the Korean War.

In 1960, Lou briefly returned to Makrakomi, Greece to marry his beloved bride, Panagiota.  The couple returned to the United States and settled in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.  On March 5, 1961, Lou opened his first restaurant, The Sweet Shop. Lou and Panagiota went on to have three children, two boys and a girl.

In the years that followed, through his hard work, determination, and initiative, Lou grew the Sweet Shop into an empire that consisted of over 30 restaurants under the name “Pappan’s Family Restaurants,” as well as over 20 Roy Rogers franchises. The first Pappan’s Family Restaurant was opened in 1964. Soon thereafter, the popular Pappan’s slogans “An you gonna like it” and “Chicken Chicken Chicken!” could be seen and heard throughout the region.

Through his professional career, Lou was awarded numerous professional accolades that were fueled by his intense generosity and sincere appreciation for his customers and the people of his community. The many awards Lou received included an honorary doctorate degree from Slippery Rock University, an Advisory Board Lifetime Membership award from the Salvation Army, a Paul Harris Fellow from the Rotary Foundation, 1990 Pittsburgh Man of the Year Award in Community Service, and 1991 Pittsburgh Variety Club Businessman of the Year. Lou was dedicated to several community-based and charitable organizations including the Salvation Army, the Kiwanis Club, Special Olympics of Pennsylvania, YMCA, Courage to Come Back, American Legion, Upper Beaver Valley Jaycees, Fishers of Boys, and Advisory Board Member of Penn State University Beaver Campus. Perhaps his greatest civic contribution was the annual Pappan’s Senior Citizen Picnic held in Brady’s Run Park in Beaver County, Pennsylvania.  Every year, for over 20 years, Lou fed thousands of local senior citizens in the community at no charge to attendees.  Inspired by American aid given to him during the war in his village in Greece, Lou held his Senior Citizen Picnics as a way to give back to the American people.  Lou gave back to the people of his hometown of Makrakomi, Greece, as well by building two churches and a community soccer field.

In addition to his community involvement, Lou was a dedicated member of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Ambridge, Pennsylvania.  Among his many contributions to the church was the establishment of the Pappan Fellowship Hall in 2016.  On February 18, 2001, Lou was bestowed the title of Archon, one of the highest honors for leaders of the Orthodox Christian Community, for his outstanding service to the Church.

Above all, Lou was a family man.  He was a loving husband to his wife of nearly 63 years, Panagiota L. Pappan, a devoted father to his three children, Demetrios, Spiro, and Vasiliki, and a revered Papou to his thirteen (13) grandchildren and thirteen (13) great-grandchildren. Lou was a true patriarch, and his legacy will live on through his loved ones.

Lou will be deeply missed by his loving wife, Panagiota Louis Pappan, his three children, Demetrios and his wife Karen Pappan, Spiro and his wife Mary Pappan, and Vasiliki (Pappan) and her husband John Clemenza, as well as his thirteen (13) grandchildren: Sophia (Josh) Knight, Elias (Michelle) Pappan, Louis (Alexa) Pappan, Patricia (George Koutsis) Pappan, Ariana (Brian) Sweeney, Amara Pappan, Nikos (Alexandra) Pappan, William Clemenza, Mitchol (Meaghan) Pappan, Camilyn Clemenza,  Patrice (Nicholas Nguyen) Clemenza, Nina Pappan, and Elaina Pappan, and thirteen (13) great grandchildren.  Lou also is survived by his sister, Sophia Nellas, and his brother, George Papanikolaou.

Friends will be received on Monday, April 17th from 2pm-8pm in the GABAUER-LUTTON FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICES, INC- 117 Blackhawk Rd., Chippewa Twp-www.gabauerfamilyfuneralhomes.com. The Trisagion service will take place at 7pm at the funeral home.  Friends and family are asked to meet the morning of Tuesday, April 18th directly at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church- 2930 Beaver Road, Ambridge PA 15003 for the 10am visitation until the time of funeral service at 11am. Father Anastasios Athanasiou will officiate.  Full military honors will be performed at the Beaver Cemetery at 1pm by the Beaver County Special Unit.

Lou will be laid to rest in his family mausoleum in Beaver Cemetery.

In addition to flowers, and to follow in Lou’s spirit of giving, friends and family may contribute to the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Lou’s name.



  • Date & Time: April 17, 2023 (2:00 PM - 8:00 PM)
  • Venue: Gabauer-Lutton Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Inc.
  • Location: 117 Blackhawk Rd Beaver Falls, PA 15010 - (Get Directions)
  • Phone Number: (724) 846-4500


  • Date & Time: April 18, 2023 (10:00 AM - 11:00 AM)
  • Venue: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
  • Location: 2930 Beaver Road Ambridge , PA 15003 - (Get Directions)

Funeral Service

  • Date & Time: April 18, 2023 (11:00 AM)
  • Venue: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
  • Location: 2930 Beaver Road Ambridge, PA 15003 - (Get Directions)


  • Date: April 18, 2023
  • Venue: Beaver Cemetery
  • Location: 351 Buffalo Street Beaver, PA 15009 - (Get Directions)

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church

  • Address: 2930 Beaver Road, Ambridge PA 15003

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17 responses to Louis “Lou” Demetrios Pappan

  1. Ken Wharton says:

    “Uncle Lou” is what we called him (although we are not blood family), but rather his restaurant family. I worked at the Moon Twp. Pappan’s Family Restaurant. My older sister worked there as did my cousin George. Uncle Lou would stop in and always say hi to each of us and give a “shinny” silver dollar to you on your birthday! He would greet customers with the biggest smile you had ever seen! It was 1976 and I was about 17 and was working my first job as dishwasher/cook. The big competitor was Denny’s and I had friends that worked there. They would boast about where they worked, and I would just smile back and say, “I work at Pappan’s!” The best thing that happened for me while working at Pappan’s, I met my wife! Her sister got her a job as a waitress. We met and will be coming up on our 41st year of marriage. There was something about “Uncle Lou” that just made us all feel like family. Thank you, Mr. Pappan for the opportunity to know you and to work for you. I’ll always treasure the memories! May God bless you and your entire family!

  2. My deepest sympathies to the Pappan family. I worked as a cook for Lou at the McNight Road location during college. It was a long time ago, but I remember him like I just saw him yesterday. He taught me a lot about the power of thinking positively.

  3. Prayers for his family during this difficult time. I grew up in Beaver Falls and lived in the area till 2008 and am aware of the good deeds and support that Mr. Pappan provided to many throughout his years. His kindness and unselfish giving, helped many people, organizations, seniors, etc. He will be missed by many and his legend will live on!

  4. On behalf of the Knopp family i would like to offer my condolences to the Pappan family. In the mid 80’s when my children were born Mr. Pappan sent birthday card with a silver dollar of that year to each of my kids! What a kind and generous man! May he rest in peace.

  5. Ruth Aley says:

    I grew up in Beaver Falls and knew who Mr. Pappan was through his commercials, his presence in his restaurants, and news articles about his philanthropy. I don’t recall any other businessman who was as well known, except maybe Mr. Bonnage.

    My sympathy to his family. May he rest in peace after a long and giving life.

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