It is with a heavy heart that we inform you of the falling asleep in the Lord of Michael E. Jaharis on February 17, 2016. We extend our profound sympathy to his beloved wife Mary, son Dr. Steven Jaharis and wife Elaine, daughter Kathryn Jaharis and their five grandchildren. Michael Jaharis was truly a pillar of the Church and Greek American Community, besides being a brilliant and innovative business leader and outstanding philanthropist. As a Founder of Leadership 100, he guided us with his intelligence, expertise, wisdom and courage for more than 30 years. His contributions are incalculable. At news of his passing, all assembled here at our Conference halted our proceedings to pay tribute to this great man whose role in our Church, our Community, our nation and our world, was truly a gift from God.
George S. Tsandikos, Chairman
Michael Jaharis Passes Away in the Lord
A transformative lifetime of commitment to the public good
NEW YORK – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America mourns the passing in the Lord of Mr. Michael E. Jaharis, 87, Archon Exarchos of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Vice-President of the Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, businessman, philanthropist and great benefactor and faithful steward of the Church.
Mr. Jaharis passed away peacefully today, February 17, in his home in New York City with his family by his side.
Upon learning of his passing to the Lord, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios stated:
“Archon Michael Jaharis was an extraordinary human being endowed by God with inexhaustible energy, amazing creativity and impressive care and love for the people, especially those in sickness, distress and suffering. He was a person fully dedicated to the Church and its sacred work, an ardent American patriot and a passionate promoter of Hellenism and its universal values. Certainly he set a brilliant example of a genuine Greek Orthodox Christian stewardship to be followed by as many as possible. May his memory be eternal.”
Archon Michael Jaharis Jr. was born in Chicago in 1928. His father immigrated to the U.S. in 1908 from the Island of Lesvos (Mytilene), Greece. He earned his B.A. from Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and then went on to earn his law degree from Chicago’s DePaul University. From 1961 to 1972, he worked for Miles Laboratories as vice president and director of the Ethical Drug Division. In 1972, he became president and CEO of Key Pharmaceuticals, where he led the development of such products as Theo-Dur, the nation’s best-selling asthma remedy, and the Nitro-Dur nitroglycerine patch, the first major advance in the delivery of medicine through the skin. Key Pharmaceuticals merged with the Schering-Plough Corporation in 1986.
In 1988, he founded Kos Pharmaceuticals Inc., a company named for the Greek island of Kos, birthplace of ancient legendary physician Hippocrates. At Kos, he directed his team to produce a family of drugs sold under the names of Niaspan, Advicor, and Simcor. These were potent, patient-friendly medicines designed to raise HDL, the “good” cholesterol. They proved wildly successful. He is also the founder of Vatera Healthcare Partners, and co-founder of Arisaph Pharmaceuticals.
Over his lifetime, Michael Jaharis made himself into a model of how to offer time, energy, and intelligence in pursuit of a better world. He was a tireless cultural ambassador, promoting Greek causes through the creation of galleries for Ancient Greek and Byzantine art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts in Chicago, as well as the endowment of the Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture at Fordham University. In 2010 through a generous grant to Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA, he established the “Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture” and the “Archbishop Demetrios Endowed Chair in New Testament Studies." In 2013 he donated significant financial assistance to relieve hunger and poverty in Greece and most recently to the refugee situation in Greece. Earlier (2006) he had established the Jaharis Home for the Aged in his parents’ hometown of Agia Paraskevi on the island of Lesvos (Mytilene).
Archon Jaharis was intimately involved with the Greek Orthodox Church for many years. He served faithfully as the Vice-President of the Archdiocesan Council since 2002. He led the effort to see New York City’s St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the sole church destroyed in the 9/11 attacks at Ground Zero, rebuilt near its original site. “When finished,” Archon Jaharis told the Archdiocesan Council in 2012, the new structure will provide “a shining spotlight on the Greek Orthodox faith and our core values of love, respect, peace, healing, and forgiveness.”
He made remarkable charitable contributions to the DePaul University College of Law, Columbia University Medical Center, the Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University, the Tufts University School of Medicine, and the Metropolitan Opera. He was a founder of The Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund, and Faith: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism. He served as Trustee and Trustee Emeritus of Tufts University and Chairman of the Board of Overseers for the School of Medicine of Tufts University, as a member of the Columbia University Medical Center Board of Visitors, and as a member of the Board of Overseers of the Weill Cornell Medical College and Graduate School of Medical Sciences. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Onassis Public Benefit Foundation.
He is survived by his wife Mary Jaharis, his son Dr. Steven Jaharis (Elaine), his daughter Kathryn Jaharis and five grandchildren.