Vassilios “Bill” Lefakinis, 86, founder of the first yacht charter company in Greece and longtime Philadelphia-area resident, died Sunday, January 26, 2020, of natural causes at his home outside of Philadelphia, PA.

Chairman of Valef Yachts Vassilios Lefakinis in 2017

Mr. Lefakinis, who was born in Athens, Greece and came to the United States as a 13-year-old student on scholarship, became the first to realize the enormous potential of yachting in Greece when he opened Valef Yachts in 1969. An intrepid entrepreneur and lifelong promoter of international tourism to Greece, Mr. Lefakinis helped modernize the industry and usher in a new era of economic growth.

An Entrepreneur from the Start, Mr. Lefakinis was just 13 when he first traveled from his native country of Greece to the United States.  The son of an accountant father and educator/entrepreneur mother, Mr. Lefakinis lied about his age in order to apply for a scholarship to Hackly School in Tarrytown, NY. He won the scholarship and sold Palmolive soap on the street to raise money for travel. While at Hackly, Mr. Lefakinis started a soccer team and led fundraising initiatives for his friends and classmates back home.

Mr. Lefakinis was just 13 when he first traveled from his native country of Greece to the United States. The son of an accountant father and educator/entrepreneur mother, Mr. Lefakinis lied about his age in order to apply for a scholarship to Hackly School in Tarrytown, NY. He won the scholarship and sold Palmolive soap on the street to raise money for travel. While at Hackly, Mr. Lefakinis started a soccer team and led fundraising initiatives for his friends and classmates back home. Read his inspirational life story here in the ATHENS INSIDER full article

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