John S. Latsis was a hugely successful businessman and entrepreneur who was also a dedicated and committed public servant. Born in Katakolo in the Peloponnese, he spent his formative years both studying and working, so that he could help support his large family. His hard work was rewarded when he graduated from Pyrgos School of Commerce, a significant moment in his early life that would play an important role in his future success. This early success within the trade and commerce success would be of great benefit in future projects undertaken by the businessman.
In addition to his business interests, John S. Latsis was a dedicated husband to Henrietta Tsoukala and the pair had three children, Marianna, Margarita and Spiro Latsis. The first notable public service project that was established by John S. Latsis came in 1967 when he founded the John S. Latsis Ileians’ Scholarships Foundation. The aim of this project was to provide Greek students the opportunities to continue their education at a higher level. The scholarship scheme was designed to provide support and funding to students who could then go on and pursue their education and future careers. As it stands, the scholarship scheme has helped approximately 1,800 students complete their education.
Perhaps one of the most notable aspects of his public service work occurred during 1986 when his country was hit by severe earthquakes and the area in particular was badly affected. John S. Latsis personally provided shelter, food and accommodation to approximately 1,000 people affected by the earthquake. This remarkable contribution was achieved by allowing those affected to stay on one of his many cruise ships for almost two years whilst new accommodation was constructed. In addition to this, John S. Latsis contributed greatly to the provision of the new accommodation by donating one of his factories to the Greek authorities so that they could efficiently provide pre-fabricated houses that were fit for purpose. He also provided support and financial assistance following the earthquakes that would cause destruction in Greece during 1988, 1993, 1995 and 1999 respectively.
Other notable public service work carried out by John S. Latsis included providing support, donations and equipment to many state-run departments such as the Greek Fire Department and the Ministry of Public Order. Due to the nature of his shipping business, John was very keen to assist Greek sailors and the families during hard times or emergency situations and this was one of the initiatives that was extremely close to his heart.