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Leo Stavros

Leo Harry Stavros

Monday, February 2nd, 1925 - Friday, November 22nd, 2019
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Leo Harry Stavros died on Friday, November 22, 2019 at the age of 94. The twinkle never left his eye and until the end, when anyone asked how he was, he replied, “I’m a delight” and then insisted on a hug. His wit, passion for life, love of people, gratitude, and humor carried him to the end.

The son of a Greek immigrant, Leo was born on February 2, 1925 in Salt Lake City and raised in Idaho Falls, one of five children. He got his first job at the age of 7, selling magazines in restaurants and bars to help the family during the Great Depression. Later, he worked in his father’s shoe repair shop and midnight grocery.

Leo’s family was considered unusual because of their Greek lineage, yet Leo assimilated well, excelling in sports and academics, and as a student leader. In his senior year at Idaho Falls High School, Leo was elected Student Body President. Soon thereafter, Leo addressed a special school assembly to announce that he had joined the U.S. Navy and would be leaving soon to help with the war effort.

The Navy sent Leo to Idaho State University, then to Montana School of Mines, where he roomed with Bud Lilly, of later fly fishing fame; the two remained lifelong friends. Next, Leo was ordered to report to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he received a degree in Naval Science and an appointment to become a Navy officer.

Leo was then assigned to an escort carrier, the USS Mindoro. He was commissioned at Pier 91 in Seattle and spent his 21st birthday sailing through the Panama Canal. Before he left active duty and returned to Madison to obtain a degree in Civil Engineering, Leo also studied at the United States War College.

Although he was offered engineering positions in Wisconsin, Leo’s father asked that he return to Idaho to help in the family grocery and assist with getting his siblings through college, and Leo couldn’t refuse. He worked with his family, building up their grocery business, then established an insurance business. He moved to Seattle and became a State Farm District Manager. But he longed for Idaho and having first skied in Sun Valley in the early 1950's, he chose the Wood River Valley as his home. On January 1, 1965, Leo took ownership of what had been the Golden Rule Store, located on Main Street in Hailey. He renamed it the Triple S Market. Hailey had about 1,100 people and he memorized the names in the phone book so he could greet his grocery customers properly.

Leo was a great marketer and the store flourished. Some locals still remember the annual “The Boss is Gone” sale; before Leo left on vacation, he bought five 100-pound bags of peanuts and ads encouraged shoppers to fill their pockets with peanuts and throw the shells on the floor – although the store had to be swept so the carts could roll through, the shelves weren’t cleaned until Leo returned. In 1973, Leo bought the General Store in Elkhorn Village, running both businesses for some years, then just the Elkhorn location until his retirement in 1988.

Leo was a 50-year Rotarian, served on the Blaine County Hospital board, and was president of both the Hailey Chamber of Commerce and the Days of the Old West celebration. He chaired a fundraising effort for the Senior Connection and was grateful to be a two-time cancer survivor.

In the summer of 1991, Leo met his wife, Marcia, on a hike to Pioneer Cabin, discovering that she had also graduated from the University of Wisconsin. Leo often said, “That’s when the rodeo started.” Walking side by side, they shared nearly 30 years together, enjoying an extraordinary love, an infectious joie de vivre, and a deep and abiding gratitude. Although they traveled often, their favorite times were with family and friends, whether at their annual Greek Party or gathered ‘round the dining room table with seemingly bottomless bottles of red wine.

Leo always said that life owed him nothing and that he hoped he could die in his beloved Idaho. He got his wish, dying in the Hailey home he lived in for nearly 50 years, surrounded by family, friends, laughter, love, and a deep and abiding peace.

Leo is survived by his wife, Marcia Mode-Stavros, as well as four children from his prior marriages to Jeane Abbott and Marilyn Partington: Terry (Dominic) Varacalle of Las Vegas, Bill (Linda) Stavros of Hailey, Kimberley (Craig) Jacobson of Idaho Falls, Coral Stavros of Newnan, Georgia, as well as 7 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren, with the ninth, a baby to be named Leo, scheduled to arrive in February.

Visitation will be held at Light on the Mountains Spiritual Center (12446 Highway 75, Ketchum) on Friday, December 6 from 5-7pm. The funeral service will be held at the Hailey Community Campus Theater (1050 Fox Acres Road, Hailey) on Saturday, December 7 at 11am, followed by burial in the Hailey Cemetery.

The family wishes to thank Dr. Richard Paris, whom Leo credited with playing a pivotal role in his longevity over their 30-year physician/patient relationship. Leo shared a special bond with Deb Smith, caregiver extraordinaire, as well as the team from Hospice and Palliative Care of the Wood River Valley. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any memorials be given to Hospice (PO Box 4320, Ketchum, ID 83340) so others may benefit from their wise and tender care.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Friday, December 6th, 2019 | 5:00pm - 7:00pm
    Friday, December 6th, 2019 5:00pm - 7:00pm
    Light On The Mountains Spiritual Center
    12446 Highway 75
    KETCHUM, ID 83340
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Saturday, December 7th, 2019 | 11:00am
    Saturday, December 7th, 2019 11:00am
    Community Campus
    1050 Fox Acres Road
    HAILEY, ID 83333
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Rev. John Moreland
  • Interment

    Hailey Cemetery
    541 E. Fox Acres Road
    HAILEY, ID 83333
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence
Plant a Tree in Memory of Leo
3 trees have been planted in memory of Leo Harry Stavros

Wood River Chapel

Posted at 12:59pm
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A memorial tree was planted in the memory of Leo Stavros — Plant a Tree Now

Mitch & Sally Mode

Posted at 10:53am
May you be comforted by the outpouring of love surrounding you. We are thinking of you. Much love
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Mitch & Sally Mode purchased flowers and planted a memorial tree for the family of Leo Stavros.


Dina Carrell

Posted at 12:56pm
I will miss Leo. He made me and my family (my parents: Angie and Jim and my husband Steve and kids Aaron and Adam) very welcome at the Annual Greek Dinner he and Marcia would have in Hailey. I miss hearing about the stories of growing up in Idaho and the boys will always remember breaking the plates at the dinner. I know you are with my Grandpa Gust Morris up in heaven talking shop. You will always be in my heart. Love you Dina Carrell and Steve Rickard.

Marcia Mode-Stavros Posted at 11:46am

Leo loved you both and was so glad you were part of our party. I think he was happy to have another true Greek in attendance! Stay in touch. xoMarcia

Tory and Jim Kindley

Posted at 10:58am
We offer this tree in honor of Leo's far reaching, loving arms with hope his family and friends forever recognize him in every tree they see.
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A memorial tree was planted in the memory of Leo Stavros — Plant a Tree Now

Steven Clayton

Posted at 08:25am
I started my law practice in Hailey, Idaho in 1973. I knew Leo through Rotary and as a client. We became quick friends as I am from Idaho Falls and used to work for his brother at Midget Market, after school until midnight, when I was 14. We quickly became friends. Later I lived at Elkhorn and would visit the store Leo had on the Elkhorn circle.

It was indeed my good fortune to have known Leo. I always had great respect for his judgment and work ethic. And Leo was always fun. Always brought a smile to my face.

Some people make an impression on you and Leo was one of those who made an impression on me.

Steve Clayton


Marcia Mode-Stavros Posted at 11:45am

Thanks, Steve, for this lovely memory. And the shared history, which makes it so special.

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