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Pamela Xanthopoulos Obituary (1952 – 2022) – Fredericksburg, VA – The Free Lance

Pamela Genevieve Nichols Xanthopoulos

Pamela Genevieve Nichols Xanthopoulos, 70, died peacefully at home on Thursday, July 21, 2022 while in hospice care in Fredericksburg.

Pam was born May 31, 1952, in a tiny hospital overlooking the totems-filled Namgis Original Burial Grounds of Alert Bay, BC, Canada. Ella’s parents, Art and Pearl Nichols, lived in nearby Sointula, and before her first birthday, she moved to the logging community of Port McNeill. In 1962, the family moved from Vancouver Island’s North End to Terrace, BC. While Pam lived there, her father died in 1963; her mom de ella in 1964. Reuben and Irmgard Epp, family friends since Port McNeill days, took in Pam and her three younger brothers as foster children. In the fall of 1964, the ten-member family moved to Prince Rupert, BC. For grades 11 and 12, Pam attended a Mennonite boarding school: Rosthern Junior College High School in Saskatchewan. In 1969, the family moved to Dawson Creek, BC. However, Pam remained forever a Coastal BC soul.

After 1970-71 at the U of Lethbridge, Pam did a year of Voluntary Service for Mennonite Central Committee in KS, PA, OK, and CA. 1973 found her in Europe, traveling with two high school friends: driving from Spain, across North Africa, ferrying back to Europe, going as far east as Turkey and north to Amsterdam and Iceland. On that trip, she met Steve, marrying him in 1974. Erie, PA, became home, and where she earned a 1977 BS from Gannon University in early childhood education. She taught second grade from 1977 to 1980 on St. Croix, US Virgin Islands and moved to Huntingdon, TN, upon the birth of her son Greg.

In Huntingdon, 1980-90, they restored their old house; she gave birth to Nick; earned a 1989 U of Tennessee at Martin MS in higher education, English emphasis; and took classes at Murray [KY] State U, for a 1992 MA in English. She taught composition as a graduate teaching assistant.

Summer 1989 through December 2014, Pam restored their Jackson house and taught diverse courses at Jackson State Community College: six in English, four in Communication, and one in Humanities. She enabled this by taking doctoral classes at the U of Memphis. Colleagues honored her with awards for Teaching Excellence and as Distinguished Faculty.

Pam also had leadership positions — Faculty Council chair and Dept. of Communication and Fine Arts chair — but her happy place was with students. A favorite remark by a student: “After he’d seen your comments on my paper, my dad said to tell you, ‘No matter how much they’re paying that woman, it’s not enough!'” And, to the evaluation question , “Would you recommend this instructor to your friends?” the reply, “No. My friends are lazy and Mrs. X makes us work.”

Family trips included seeing relatives, such as in BC and Ontario, but many were return visits to Cumberland Island, GA, and St Pete’s Beach, FL. Once her sons were older, Greece, Spain, Sweden, Chile, Argentina, Korea, Japan, Italy, England, and others, became destinations.

In 2015, Pam retired to a Fredericksburg, VA, house a neighborhood away from her firstborn and her family. From here, after care-taking for her husband with Lewy Body dementia, she traveled again —to Key West, BC Newfoundland, and San Diego. She loved her deck and huge, gardened back yard; feeding wild birds; tending to her cats; gardening blooming things; keeping in touch with family and friends; enjoying beauty in nature, words, and music; plus, hosting meals and guests.

Survivors include her sons, Greg Xanthopoulos (Allison) and Nick Xanthopoulos (Niki Schaan); grandchildren Silas and Cora Xanthopoulos; siblings Val Konig (Paul), Cory Epp, Keri Martens, Reynold Epp (Mary Drzewiecki), Derek Nichols Epp, and David Nichols; sisters-in-law Lynda Herrman (Tom) and Cathy Epp (Cliff Prystie); special cousin Sharon Graves (Ken MacDonald); six nieces; eight nephews; and a lifetime of cherished friends.

In addition to her parents, Pam was preceded by her brother, Harley Nichols Epp; baby Tamara Martens; and her husband, Steve.

Interment will be private.

Special gratitude to Mary Washington Hospice. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to (designation hospice care),, or (click “donate”).

“‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—/ That perches in the soul—/ And sings the tune without the words—/ And never stops— at all—” Emily Dickinson

Online guest book is available at

Published by The Free Lance – Star on Aug. 7, 2022.

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