John Ditcheos died at his home in Woodstock, in his favorite easy chair, on June 18 at age 88.
He was born on Sept. 12, 1930, in Hightstown, New Jersey and was the son of Nicholas and Alexandria Ditcheos, and younger brother to George.
Ditcheos spent his early life with his family in his father’s homeland of Greece until the German occupation when they fled the country in an old wooden boat with no possessions other than the clothes they were wearing. After going through the Ellis Island immigration process (Ditcheos, George and Alexandria were U.S. Citizens but Nicholas and the other family members were not) they all eventually settled in Hightstown, New Jersey where Ditcheos went to Hightstown Grade School, and Peddie Prep School where he met the love of his life and future wife, Janet Catherine Underhill. After graduating from Peddie Prep School (in 2004 he was inducted into the Peddie School Sports Hall of Fame for soccer) he went on to attend Cornell, graduating with a degree in Hotel Management. Ditcheos loved playing soccer; his college team was second team All American and after college he played semi-pro soccer for the New York Cosmos. Ditcheos went into the army and served as an officer and then went on to help his brother and mother run the family restaurant in Hightstown, New Jersey.
The family sold the business in the early 1960s so Ditcheos moved on to become the restaurant manager of the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Not adoring the long hours and midnight train commutes into the city, he was offered a position managing the food and beverage department of a new ski area in Vermont called Killington where he was employed until his retirement at the age of 83 in 2013. Ditcheos was instrumental in developing the food and beverage business into a major revenue generator, and later served as Killington’s banquet and conference manager. Along the way, Ditcheos was honored with many achievement awards from organizations such as the New England Culinary Institute (where he served on the board for many years) the American Culinary Federation, Naval Base Philadelphia (Commander’s Certificate of Appreciation), the Vermont Lodging and Restaurant Association and the Taste of Vermont. His long-time goal was to see a Killington tourist sign along Interstate 89 and was instrumental in getting that approved by the Vermont Department of Tourism. After his retirement from Killington, Ditcheos spent time travelling and being with his family. He was a loving father of three children (Jo Ann Stanyon, Jackie Lynn Fenner and Ditcheos Nicholas Ditcheos), grandfather of seven (Robert Flower and Timothy Stanyon, Alexander, Nicholas and Jasmine Ditcheos, and Warren and Catherine (Ditcheosson) Fenner; and a great grandfather to six children (Christian and Charlotte Ditcheos, Natalie Olsen and Kai Ditcheos, Callister Ditcheos and Rhys Fenner) with three more on the way. Ditcheos will be remembered by many as “the man, the myth and the legend.”
There will be a memorial visitation on Saturday, June 22 at the Cabot Funeral Home on 32 Rose Hill in Woodstock from 3-6 p.m. and a private graveside service on Sunday morning where he will be laid to rest next to Janet and his granddaughter Elizabeth.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the St. James Episcopal Church at 2 St. James Place, Woodstock, Vermont 05091. An online guestbook is available at cabotfh.com.