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Gregory "Greg" Pappas '71 February 7, 1995 12:00 AM

from the Houston Chronicle, Feb 6, 1995

Houston restaurateur Gregory James Pappas, 45, vice president of the Pappas family restaurant chain and creator of the restaurants' unique look, died Sunday (Feb 5, 1995) in a car wreck.

Pappas, one of the three nephews of Pappas chairman Pete Pappas, was downtown on an access road to Interstate 45 north when he veered his red Acura into a concrete pillar. He died at the scene of the 12:20 a.m. single-car accident.

"Gregory leaves a legacy of family and friends who loved him very much," the Pappas family said in a statement released Sunday. "His employees considered him a mentor and a friend."

Greg Pappas was the youngest of the three sons of the late Jim Pappas, who started the family business with Pete in the 1940s. The company has grown to a reported worth in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Greg and his brothers, Chris and Harris, became vice presidents of the privately owned company that runs the restaurants, which specialize in almost every kind of food -- Cajun, Italian, Mexican and American.

A graduate of Texas A&M University, Greg Pappas loved architecture and was responsible for the unusual design of the restaurants. His trademark was the neon tops of the Pappasito's restaurants.

"Greg's love of architecture was realized through the design of Pappasito's restaurants throughout Texas," said Pappas spokeswoman Julie Pastel. "He tried to conceive and create places that would be comfortable and enjoyable."

"I'm very saddened," said Johnny Carrabba, whose family owns the Carrabba's restaurants.

"I never looked at Greg as being a competitor," Carrabba said. "He was a friend and a leader in the restaurant industry."

The Pappas company runs 45 restaurants in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio, including Pappasito's Mexican, and Pappadeaux Cajun restaurants.

Gregory Pappas is survived by his mother, Mary Pappas; sister, Victoria Giannukos; and brothers Chris and Harris Pappas. The family will hold private funeral services.

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