From his obit on Legacy.com:
“Born in Natick, MA on December 26, 1930, George was the only child of Greek immigrants, Achilles and California (“Callie”) Karadanis. In 1935, the family moved to Pittsburgh, CA. George graduated from Pittsburgh High School in 1949 and went to work for Shell Chemical in Martinez.”
Achilles Karadanis was born in a small village in the hills near Smyrna (now called Izmir). Anatolian Greek, citizen of Turkey. He arrived on November 1st, 1912, at Ellis Island, anticipating and avoiding the Muslim Turkish purges which were to begin a year later, and settled in Natick. Did he know someone there, perhaps someone in the Greek Orthodox Church in nearby Boston? Occupation at this time was listed as Baker.
Achilles returns to Turkey, likely the area around Smyrna from whence he’d come, and brings back Joe’s mother Callie in 1930 as his wife. More than a 20 year age difference. (somewhat like Joseph and Mary, running from persecution).
Callie’s place of birth was the large cosmopolitan port city of Smyrna.
It was substantially burnt in the fire of 1922 then occupied by Attaturk- Christian Greeks were driven out or slaughtered. She must have struggled mightily until rescued from the ruins, so to speak.
Ancient Greek Smyrna is one of the Seven churches addressed in The Revelation of St. John of Patmos.
Above: Reconstruction of the city of Old Smyrna in the late Archaic period.
R. Cook, “Old Smyrna, 1948—1951.” Annual of the British School at Athens 53 (1958—1959), 1—181.
And the Island of Patmos where he was exiled is only a stone’s throw from Smyrna. Early Christians there were persecuted for their beliefs. From ‘Mark Shoberg: The Dumb Tourist’ blog:
“But for the overcomers, they shall not be hurt by the experience of being made alive, truly alive, because love and life cast out all fear and death. (I John 4:8-16) Life is love and fear is death. That is why Smyrna means myrrh, or more aptly, why Smyrna was given the promise of not being hurt by the second death.
Myrrh was used at burials to preserve the body for resurrection—bodies would be wrapped in linens soaked or caked in myrrh, because both Jews and Christians believed that one day their bodies would be resurrected from the dead.”
Ties in with with Zodiac claiming victims to serve him in the afterlife, no?
Elsie, Joe K’s wife, né Crotwell, born in Eastern Arkansas, Chicot County, Bayou Macon, 3rd June, 1933, is still living. The parents Oscar and Ruby moved the family to Brentwood, Ca., near Pittsburg. Joe and Elsie Karadanis were married on November 10th, 1951 in Pittsburg, where they settled and raised 3 sons.
They started building motels in the Tahoe area- mid-50’s.
The Crotwells, Oscar and/or Ruby may have regaled the family and Joe with stories of the 1946 Texarkana Lovers’ Lane Killer, who was never caught. Many Zodiac researchers have commented on the similarities between the 2 cases. Some have even proposed that the 5 murders there were early Zodiac crimes.
The most thorough documentation of the case can be found in ”The Texarkana Moonlight Murders: The Unsolved Case of the 1946 Phantom Killer’ by Michael Newton.
And there was one major film treatment:
Oscar passed away in November 1967 in Pittsburg. Ruby in ’95.
Joe’s father Achilles born August 1st, 1888, (shades of 888) was listed as a steel worker in 1949 in Pittsburg, Ca. He passed away there on the 31st August, 1974. So regardless of Joe’s business in Tahoe and Reno, his family was still back in Pittsburg.
His mother Callie, born October 4th, 1912, in Smyrna, passed away on the 14th July, 1973- also in Pittsburg. Note how these dates coincide roughly with the last few Zodiac communiques. (update February 2019– we now are fairly certain the 1974 communications are fakes, thanks to Richard Grinell’s work- so the last letters would have been sent before Joe’s parents passed away)
One curious fact: The wife of Joe’s business partner Robert Maloff had been assistant to singer Kay Starr, who’s national number one hit, ‘Wheel of Fortune’, was the theme song for the TV Game Show of the same name, which ran in ’52-’53.
The rules for this show were quite different than Merv Griffin’s version which debuted in the mid ’70’s. In order to get on it contestants had to have done a good deed!
The show ended on December 25th, 1953- one day before Joe K’s 23rd birthday. Another clew?
Thanks to Cindy Wallace, Reference Librarian at the Main Branch Amarillo Public Library, for helping me navigate Ancestry.com and suggesting other sites that proved to be invaluable