Peter Thomas Meletis (Evripido Soterios) was born on July 21, 1931, in Washington, D.C., and raised in Alexandria, Va., to Greek immigrant parents Soterios (Tom) from Thrace, Turkey, and Anna Anagnostopoulos Meletis of Peramos, Asia Minor. Peter, affectionately called “Rip,” grew up in a loving family with his sister, Bessie M. Charuhas, and brother, Angelo Meletis. Peter graduated from George Washington High School in 1949. He was raised in the family’s Virginia motel and restaurant business in Old Town, Alexandria.
“Freedom is not Free.” Many will recognize this as a favorite saying of Peter Meletis. On November 21, 2020, Peter Thomas Meletis passed away peacefully at home with his wife, children and grandchildren by his side.
In 1949, Peter enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, and trained in Parris Island, S.C. His Unit was Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Regiment, 1st Marine Division. From 1950 to 1951 Peter fought in the Chosin Reservoir and Battle of Hill 812. There he received two Purple Hearts and Unit Citation. Peter enjoyed many recent reunions with his Marine Brothers in Branson, Mo.
In 1952 Peter enrolled at Wake Forest University on the GI Bill. He spoke fondly of seeing Arnold Palmer on the Old Campus and loved being a Demon Deacon. Peter graduated in 1955 with a B.A. in Education.
In 1961, Peter moved to Winston-Salem, N.C., and raised four children. He opened and was the general manager of the Parkway Chalet Motel and the Alpine Supper Club, a new sensation! In 1964, Peter was a founding partner of the Hawaiian themed Sheraton Motel. In 1974 Peter built the Master Host Inn and Country Kitchen in Statesville, N.C., Master Host Inn in Columbia, S.C., and the Red Carpet Inn in Orangeburg, S.C. Peter went on to develop and build numerous motels, restaurants and shopping centers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
In 1985 Peter moved to Lake Norman, N.C. As a developing partner in the I-77, Exit 36 acreage, Peter and his partners were responsible for bringing water and sewer to Highway 150, Exit 36, now called Consumer Square. In order for this to take place, he had to promise so many new jobs to the State of North Carolina. Peter and three partners, James Jennings, Tom Gallos and Jimmy McKnight, began developing the acreage with Pete building a restaurant named Scallywags and the Master Host Inn. He was the managing partner. He sold the restaurant several years later. He also was successful in bringing in Wendy’s and Taco Bell. The property was eventually sold and the new owner, Bennison, continued to develop what you see today with the exception of the Applebee’s lot that Peter privately sold.
In 1993, Peter and a friend created Meletis/Gallos and built six sets of duplexes called Brookview Woods, which they owned and operated it until 2007.
In 1997 Peter met the love of his life, Vivian Carol Smith. They married in 1998 and enjoyed traveling to Sunset Beach and the North Caolina Mountains and Tarpon Springs, Fla. Together they made a great team. Peter co-founded Iredell County’s Stocks for Tots with Don Miller and two years later stepped away. In May 2002, Pete became the 1st Commandant of the Iredell County Marine Corps League and spent several years as the Commandant of the Department of NC’s Marine Corps League in which he was instrumental in creating over 30 new detachments throughout North Carolina. Vivian began working with the Marine Toys for Tots in 2002 in honor of Pete and has been Coordinator for 12 years.
In 2005-2006, Peter, his sister Bessie Charuhas and Willis Spivey teamed up together and built a shopping center located at 265 N. Main Street in Troutman named Char-Mel. After bringing in a few shops, it was sold in October of 2006.
Peter also helped feed the Veterans and their wives twice a month with FeedNC. On July 21, 2016, Peter had the vision of starting the Piedmont Veteran’s Assistance Council (PVAC) to assist Veterans in their time of need. It has been going strong ever since.
Peter put God and Jesus first and always gave credit to God for his many blessings. He was a founding member of both St. Katherine’s Greek Orthodox Church in Falls Church, Va., and St. Luke’s Greek Orthodox Church in Mooresville, N.C. He was also a member of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Winston-Salem, N.C. In recent years Peter dreamed of and founded the Iredell County Transitional Shelter in Statesville, N.C. He was often heard saying “Failure is not an Option!”
Peter was once asked by a man how he had managed to become so successful that everything he touched turned to gold. He simply answered him and told him he had a great partner. He was then asked if he thought his partner would be interested in taking on another partner. His reply was you can ask him. When asked who his partner was, Peter simply pointed upward and said God. One of his other poignant sayings was this, “We should spend more time building monuments in the hearts of our fellow man than those of brick and mortar.”
Peter is survived by his loving wife of 22 years Vivian; children Tom Meletis (Effie), Nick Meletis (Joanna), Ann Scott (Don), and Cheryl Meletis; Chad Smith (Destiny Bowie), and Miranda Oglesby (Zane); grandchildren Peter Meletis, Stephanie Proffitt (John), Honeigh Strickland (Dan), Lucas Meletis, Rip Scott, Nicholas Scott, Wilson Ebert (Corie), and Harrison Ebert; and great grandchildren William Ebert, Thomas and Peter Ebert. Christos Ebert preceded in Heaven.
A visitation will be held on Tuesday, December 1, at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, December 2, at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home Chapel. Burial will follow the service at Glenwood Memorial Park.
For those who are unable to attend the service, you may go to the following link for the live stream https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC864hAs96dTRLVVL1la0Qlw/videos?view=2&flow=list
For those who are unable to attend the graveside, you may go to the following link for the live stream https://www.facebook.com/CavinCookFuneralHomeServices/
Memorials may be made to Piedmont Veteran’s Assistance Council (PVAC) Iredell County, http://Piedmontvac.org or St. Luke’s Greek Orthodox Church, 134 Talbert Pointe Drive, Mooresville, NC 28117.
Cavin-Cook Funeral Home & Crematory, Mooresville, is serving the Meletis family. Condolences may be made to the family at www.cavin-cook.com.