Basile “Bill” James Mandakis of Kernersville, North Carolina passed away on Thursday, August 20, 2020, after reaching the age of 82 years old. After a full and rewarding life, particularly dedicated to the service of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, he was suddenly called home by God at his residence in Kernersville, North Carolina, immediately after a short bicycle ride and appreciating his beloved rose garden.
Bill was born on August 8, 1938, in Manhattan, New York to the late James Basile and Veronica Karoczun Mandakis and moved with his family to Winston-Salem, North Carolina at the age of 9 years old.
As a very passionate young man, he shared the love of electronics and control-line airplanes with his father. A passion he carried all through his life, even starting and running a small control-line airplane part and design business until his passing.
In 1954, he met the love of his life, Marilyn Brookbank, at R. J. Reynolds High School. They lived together almost inseparable for over 60 years. The early years were difficult as they both dedicated themselves to their educations with Bill earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University in 1962.
Bill was an expert in Quality Control, Failure Analysis, and Reliability. An expertise which he took to various companies supporting multiple NASA missions, defense programs, and cardiac pacemaker innovations. Bill was especially proud of his contributions to the Apollo missions. He lived his motto of, “Good enough is NOT good enough!”
He was especially passionate about his love of God and his family. An evangelical creationist Christian, Bill was a very active member of First Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem. He wrote several books on biblical analysis and taught many bible classes. His eyes would light up whenever he was asked to share his perspective of God’s word in today’s time. If you were the one to ask, you may have found yourself in long and deep conversations about the scriptures and were guaranteed to walk away with a deeper appreciation of God’s word.
Bill also had a love for music. His skill at playing the organ, piano, guitar, and violin were only matched by his excellent baritone voice. Many choirs, musicals, and stage productions were blessed to have Bill’s talent. A talent that earned him the Jack Krusz Memorial Award for excellence in music.
It was also through the love of music that Bill and Marilyn began their long history of world travel with their first trip abroad as members of the Clearwater Community Chorus in the early 1980’s, eventually visiting over 16 countries and all 50 states in the US.
Bill was a strong, proud, and good man. He is loved and will be deeply missed by many.
He is preceded in death by parents, James and Veronica Mandakis; brother James Mandakis; nephew Kenneth Mandakis; and beloved dog Ginger.
Mr. Mandakis is survived by loving wife, Marilyn Mandakis of Kernersville, NC; sister Christina Harris of Winston-Salem, NC; children Stephen Mandakis (Meg) of Clearwater, FL, and Pamela Campbell (Brian) of Tarpon Springs, FL; grandchildren Kirstin Bruce (Evan) of Tampa, FL, Dylan Mandakis (Ashley) of Largo, FL, Ashley Campbell of Tampa, FL, and Colin Campbell of Tallahassee, FL; great-grandchild Elizabeth Bruce of Tampa, FL; nephew David Lawrence (Victoria) of Apex, NC.
The family will have a Celebration of Life service at a later date.
If you would like to honor Bill, in lieu of flowers, you may make donations in his name to the First Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem, NC, St. Jude’s Hospital, or the Salvation Army.