menu

Celebrating the life of

Pete Liakakis

January 09, 1932 - April 14, 2022

Pete demonstrated his love for the community through tireless acts of service and was embraced by all cultures, at multiple houses of worship, and from all levels and branches of law enforcement and government. 

Pete Liakakis

Peter (“Pete”) Antonio Liakakis left for his last “important” meeting on April 14, 2022 while surrounded by family at home.  He was born in Savannah, Georgia on January 9, 1932 to Antonio Peter Liakakis and Despena Skelichi Liakakis.  He was a lifetime member of St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church where he also served as past president. After graduating from Savannah High School, Pete enlisted in the United States Air Force where he trained in Communications. He also worked covertly as an intelligence officer and was a trained bomb disposal expert. Following his honorable discharge, he returned to Savannah where he served as Deputy Director of Civil Defense during the Cold War Era. 

Pete had a long career in business, civic and charitable organizations.  

An entrepreneur at heart, he owned multiple businesses throughout his lifetime. He founded United Detective Agency combating corporate theft, anti-surveillance screening and, on occasion, providing answers to curious spouses. Pete’s agency was known for getting results.  Next, he formed United Security Agency to provide armed and unarmed guard protection to local businesses. Pete earned black belts in Karate and Kung Fu Martial Arts while also serving as a reserve deputy.  In his spare time, he hosted a daily radio show “Police Beat” on WSGA.  He later founded United Alarm, which for decades, dominated the local market for home and business security.  

He was a longtime personal bodyguard and friend of late Hollywood star, Burt Reynolds, during the height of Reynolds’ career. Over the years, they would co-own race horses and a successful television and film production company, Sun Classic Pictures. It was during these long days of travel that Pete learned about the life-saving technology “Jaws of Life” for which he would personally raise the money to bring to Savannah. 

Pete continued to provide security for local businesses as well as celebrities, public officials and religious leaders. He served on numerous community and governmental boards, ran political campaigns and co-founded “Savannah Responds” to assist those in personal crisis as well as natural disaster efforts.  After years as a volunteer and successful campaign manager, he was elected to two terms as Alderman-at-Large to Savannah’s City Council and enthusiastically served two terms as Chairman of the Chatham County Commission. He demonstrated his love for the community through tireless acts of service and was embraced by all cultures, at multiple houses of worship, and from all levels and branches of law enforcement and government. 

In 2012, he was recognized for his lifetime of achievement in public and community service with the dedication of the Pete Liakakis Government Building in downtown Savannah, a building which underwent major renovations to become more environmentally friendly.

Throughout his life he had been an active member in over forty organizations, some of which were American Cancer Society, Trustee of the Savannah Technical College Foundation, St. Paul’s CME Church Boys School, King-Tisdell Cottage Foundation, Beach Institute, Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, Boy Scouts of America, Elks Club, Epilepsy Foundation, March of Dimes, American Heart Association, Savannah Theater, Sertoma Club, Muscular Dystrophy Association, The Savannah Quarterback Club, Southeast Georgia Police Academy, Humane Society, Navy League, Royce Center, St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, Eighth Air Force Historical Society, Habitat for Humanity, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Chatham Area Transit Authority and the Southern Poverty Law Center.  

He is survived by his loving wife, Mary Jean of Savannah; beloved son, Toney (Michelle) of Savannah; sisters, Georgia Tidler of Rockville, Maryland and Helen Panagopoulos (Nikolaos) of Kalamata, Greece; grandson, Toney (Lauren) of Richmond Hill; granddaughters, Paige Francis (Abraham) of Bellefontaine, Ohio and Gabrielle Liakakis of Savannah; four great-children, Scarlett, Antonio, Georgia and Melanie; nieces, nephews, cousins and loving extended family and friends.

The family will receive friends Tuesday, April 19, 2022 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with Trisagion service at 6:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church located at 14 W. Anderson Street, Savannah, GA 31401.  The funeral service will be held Wednesday, April 20, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Paul's Greek Orthodox Church, conducted by Father John Wallace and accompanied by Father John Caparisos. Internment immediately following in Forest Lawn Mausoleum, 315 Greenwich Road, Savannah, Georgia 31404.  

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation in Pete's memory to the Greek Ladies Philoptocos Society at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church (the philanthropic arm of the Greek Orthodox Church), 14 West Anderson Street, Savannah, GA 31401.

SHARE YOUR CONDOLENCES

Image
GUEST BOOK

A candle has been lit!

- Stephen Herb, Savannah, Ga.

A candle has been lit!

Uncle Pete as I affectionately referred to him as, was more than a friend, he always treated me like Family. I had the privilege to be at the hospital and at his home and prayed with him. Rest in Heaven my friend but remember you can't crown him till I get there. I love you Uncle Pete, and he would say and I love you. .

- Bishop Ronald B. Anderson, Sr, Hardeeville, SC

You lived a busy life of compassion for many things. It was a pleasure to spend some time with you. Rest easy my friend.

- Mike Kenny , Savannah , Ga

My condolences to the family!

- Jessie I Pennington, Savannah, GA

My condolences to the family!

- Jessie I Pennington, Savannah, GA

I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Liakakis many times. He always had a smile, firm handshake and made you feel welcome.

- Beth Donnelly, Savannah, GA, GA

Pete you are in heaven now with dad Robert Bob jackson im sure yall have some catching up i l9ve you both

- Christopher jackson , Charleston , sc

A candle has been lit!

Mary Jean, So sorry for your loss.

- CHERYL CLAY, Tybee Island, Ga

I met Pete when I first joined the Savannah Police Department in 1974. He was quite the character. He always had a story for me. I very much enjoyed talking to him. After I retired I worked security for a short time at the old Country Court where the County Commission meets. He was the Chairman at the time. No matter when he entered or left that building he always made time to stop and talk with me. Sending prayers to all of Pete’s family and friends. He will be missed by all who knew and loved hi. A friend Kenny Porter

- Kenny Porter, Savannah , Georgia

I met Pete in 1963. Have been friends ever since. Pete was a great person. May he rest in peace forever.

- Stanley Rosenberg , Savannah , Ga.

Pete was a true gentleman and dedicated true friend for all community. He has always helped his upmost for the Hindu community. He will be missed in our community. Gif bless his soul and give strength to his family.

- Henry Sharma, Pooler, Ga

My close, personal friend for over 60 years, we served together in the USAF during the Korean Conflict. Always a warm handshake and smile, kind and dependable, he will be greatly missed.

- MURRAY SILVER, ESQ., Savannah, GA.

A candle has been lit!

RIP SAVANNAH THANKS YOU FOR MANY YEARS OF SERVICE. GOD BLESS.

- Gina Anderson Ellrod , Savannah , Ga

Our sincerest condolences! Our thoughts and prayers with the family through this difficult time!

- Sorrells, Savannah, GA

I engaged United Alarm Service in the 80s. Pete provided professional level quality alarm and detective services (and Toney) as we entered into the age of technological corporate espionage! But he was a personable man despite all of his accomplishments and station. Sympathies the family during this time of sadness.

- Henry Cobb (Carson Products), Savannah, Ga

I worked for Uncle Pete when I was in High School 1978-79, at Pal's Superette Convenance store and loonies Luke's fire works. I am forever thankful for those Job opportunities, which were my second and third Jobs. Every thing I ever heard about him was all positive, and he treated me with total respect. I am a better person for knowing him. My deepest heartfelt Condolences to Uncle Pete's Family.

- Anthony Phillips, Savannah, Georgia

A candle has been lit!

Peace and be well

- Cathy Von Kurzbach, Folkston, Georgia

A candle has been lit!

MAY HE RIP

- MELL, Savannah, Georgia

A candle has been lit!

MAY HE RIP JOHN F MELL

- JOHN MELL, Savannah, Georgia

Worked with Pete in Civil Defense & March of Dimes. A tireless person. Rest in Pace old friend

- STEVE STAFFORD, SAVANNAH, GA

My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Pete. His service on the King-Tisdale Cottage Foundation was extraordinary. His legacy of giving back to the community will be remembered by those of us who knew him. He definitely helped to improve the Chatham-Savannah Community. Rest well Pete!!

- Randy Gunter , Statesboro , GA

I worked part time for Pete when I was stationed at HAAF with the Air Force. When I got out of the Air Force, I returned to Savannah. Pete gave me a job and helped me get a place to stay. When I applied for the Savannah Police Department, Pete helped me get on. Over the years, Pete and I were at many events together. He always would go out of his way to come over and shake my hand and say hello. Mary Jane, it was always obvious he loved you. He loved Savannah and it’s people. He will be missed by many.

- Mike Nichols, Savannah, GA

Sending our deepest sympathies to Ms. Mary Jean, family and the entire Greek community. Mr. Pete was a great man who gave his time to so many local causes. He will be greatly missed. Growing up in Savannah I was accustomed to hearing Mr. Pete's name and I think I looked for him in every parade! May God comfort his family & friends during this difficult time.

- Denise Cowart-Rahn, Bloomingdale, Ga

Kathryn and I were sad to see that Pete had passed. I always considered Pete as a friend, even though we ran against each other and Pete won. He was a true civil servant and worked tirelessly in all he did. Too Pete's family, you are in our prayers. Pete will be missed.

- Frank & Kathryn Murray, Savannah, GA.

Extending condolence to Mrs.Liakakis and the entire family. Asking our Heavenly Father to provide peace and comfort with the transition of your love one. He strived to help everyone. Remember times he would visit St.Paul CME Church.Resting from his labor. God bless you all.

- Gloria Wells , Savannah , Ga.

When Pinkie Masterpoulis, owner of Pinkie Masters' Bar expired, I attended his funeral. Pete Liakakis bought the bar or so I'm told and contributed the tradition of giving the last of the bottle for free to the patrons of Pinkie Masters' Bar. I didn't get to know Pete well, but I liked him. Dorothy Rockwell

- Dorothy Williams, Hilton Head Island, SC

Pete was whirlwind of care, energy and humor. He is dancing his fast footwork in heaven now. RIP and my condolences to his famiy and loved ones.

- Barbara Zinn, Savannah, Ga

Thank you sir for your many years of service to this community. Condolences to family and friends. Rest in peace

- Dawn Gorko, Savannah, GA

Pete was the consummate public servant, seeming to be in multiple places at the same time, always expressing sincere interest in the priorities of his constituents. He was a major advocate of SCAD’s Savannah Film Festival, having worked with people like Burt Reynolds to bring filmmaking to Georgia many years ago. On one occasion, Pete called me to say that he had ten bicycles he wanted to donate to SCAD to give to students. This generosity continued with multiple bike donations over the years, ten at a time, to SCAD students. He was a positive presence at many SCAD events, always encouraging and applauding progress to make our beloved city better. Pete always was a true friend to me and to SCAD, perennially smiling and conveying his ineffable optimism in myriad ways. He was a steady leader for decades in Savannah – a person who was visible and caring, and ever a positive presence in his city. To Pete's family, I send my sincere condolences.

- Paula Wallace, Savannah, GA

My condolences to the family.

- Anna Tompkins , Savannah , Ga

Prayers for this family

- The Haggrays , Savannah , Georgia

My wife and I send our deepest sympathy to The Likakis family. I knew Mr. Likakis and worked for him for a time, May your family find peace in the midst of this most difficult time.

- Gene Harrison Jr, Atlanta , Georgia

My thoughts and prayers are with all of the family at this sad time. May his memory be eternal. With my deepest sympathy, Irene Miltiades Purdy

- Irene Miltiades Purdy, Richmond, Virginia

I was the Public Information Officer for Chatham County and I'll never forget one time during Pete's first year as Chairman he and I were working on something that had us stay a little longer into the evening. When we were finished I got in my car to drive home. As I passed by Wright Square I looked and saw two people, a "bag lady" sitting on a bench and there was Pete standing in front of of her. He was either consoling her, offering her something to eat, giving her money, or something to offer her help. There wasn't anyone else in the square, there were no cameras, Pete was doing this out of the kindness of his heart. Watching that showed my his true character.

- Peter B Nichols, Savannah, GA

I have known Pete forever it seems. We are of the same generation and we always laughed that we were the real core of Savannah. He will be greatly missed by all.

- Miriam Center, Savannah, Georgia

I met Pete in the mid 70’s. He was the most selfless of politicians. He was a tireless worker & giver. Sincere, caring and dependable. If Pete had a fault I never found it. Truly one of a kind, he gave his all to Savannah.

- Bobby & Sheila Phillips, Savannah, GA

Memory Eternal!

- Thomas Maty, GUYTON, Georgia

A candle has been lit!

Prayers for deep peace… will miss Pete’s presence on the streets of Savannah.

- Kelly Kilpatrick Hunt, Savannah, GA

Sorry for your loss he was a good man

- Henry Mitchell, Madison, Georgia

May His memory be eternal

- THOMAS W ANDREW, METTER, GA

A Great man,he will be forever missed !

- Robert Conrad McAllister , Savannah , Georgia

So sorry for your loss He always had a smile on his face He will be missed

- Gail Stoltzman , Savannah, Ga

Sincere condolences to the Liakakis family at this difficult time. Our thoughts and Prayers are with you.

- Kim Albright, Rincon, Ga

Our community lost a great man. Rest In Peace, Pete

- Lauree Morris , Savannah , Ga

To the family of Pete lakakalus he was a good person always smiling. He will be sadly missed

- Green , Savannah , Georgia

Deepest condolences to the family. It was our pleasure to have served you, sir. The memories of you will be forever in our hearts.

- Hirano’s Restaurant, Savannah, GA

I am honored to have known Pete as a super great boss, community leader, and friend. He was respected and admired by me and everybody I have ever heard talk about him. It was always a joy to talk with him whenever I encountered him around Savannah. The last time I saw him was near Forsyth Park. I asked him how he managed to stay so young, and he said he had a gym in his house, and he worked out every day. He was always a bundle of energy, and he was always using that energy to do good things for Chatham County. He was a role model for us all.

- John Miller, Savannah, GA

My sincere condolences to Pete’s family. I remember Pete as a young boy in the 1930’s and 1940’s being a fun type person. Everybody loved Pete! He grew into becoming a very successful businessman, a dedicated public servant and a person who gave his all to help those who were in need. Pete was a truly remarkable individual and lived his Orthodox Christian upbringing to the fullest. What a life Pete lived!!! “May his Memory be Eternal”

- Arthur A. lamas, Atlanta , Georgia

A candle has been lit!

Surely will be missed by many. Prayers for all. RIP Pete, your job here on earth was well done.

- Fulton & Donna Love, Savannah, Georgia

I want to express my condolences to the Liakakis family. Pete was a true friend. He was an example of a person who never met a stranger and who only saw humans regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender. We need more people like Pete Liakakis. May he rest in peace.

- Otis S. Johnson, Savannah , GA

Pete was such a major part of our life at Brighter Day Natural Foods - we met him the first day we opened the store in 1978 and he shopped here almost daily. He was our greatest customer and promoter for the store. As you all know he believed in Vitamins and health foods and of course was truly an inspiration for everyone with his boundless energy ! Pete’s generosity had no bounds ! He was always getting supplements for anyone who had a health issue to get them started on the right path. We spent so much time together at the store - all of it wonderful. His commitment to helping others and being of service to the Savannah Community knew no boundaries. He will go down in history as one of Savannah’s finest bar none !! We will miss him. All our love to Mary Jean whom we love dearly and to his son Tony and all his family members. Pete was truly a gift for all of us.

- Peter and Janie Brodhead, Savannah, GA

My deepest condolences to the Liakakis Family during this difficult time. I remember Pete as a "People Person" who was always warm and cordial anytime I saw him. I also got a chance to dance with him! May you be comforted with the fond memories of him!!

- Brenda L Roberts, Savannah, GA

When I came to Savannah in 1972 to be employed by the Savannah Police Department, Pete was one of the first persons to welcome me and extend a welcome hand to invite me to the community and offer his help to adjust to Savannah. Over the next 16 years he was a advisor, confedont, friend and a person I could trust always. In the hard times he was there to support me and in the good time he was there to offer his congrats messages. He will be missed because God on create only a few people like Pete. He loved the police and he loved Savannah, could we have asked for more from anyone, I say NOTE! Sleep Pete in the arms of your Lord.

- James Murray, Belfast, Ireland

From my senior year in high school (1966) till now, I have never met anyone as caring and loving as Pete. If you were lucky enough to be his friend you were lucky indeed. There is nothing he wouldn't do for you if it was in his power. I never met anyone so dedicated to his hometown or did more for it than Pete. His passion to serve was off the charts. To know him was truly to love him and a running joke we had never got old. I'll miss him dearly. He was nothing short of awesome and I was always proud to be his friend too. Godspeed! Bill

- Bill Edwards, Savannah, Georgia

Our condolences to the family. Pete was truly one of the finest persons Pat and I have ever known. As a fire captain on the Savannah Fire Department, while arriving at a fire in the middle of the night nearly fifty-four years ago, I met Pete for the first time. He had two portable walkie-talkie-type radios on his belt and helped pull hose for us to fight the fire. Afterward, he introduced himself and I told him I was Scrappy Jackson. From that moment on, I knew Pete as a tireless, energetic champion for firefighters and policemen. He proved it over and over again in many countless ways. As a result, I was proud to help him in his political campaigns, even though firefighters, by law, weren't supposed to participate in political activity. He was a true friend, and Pat and I will miss him dearly. Scrappy Jackson, Midway, Georgia

- Daniel D. "Scrappy" Jackson, Midway, Ga

I was about 12 or 13 year old. East 57th street east side of the Casey canal not uncommon for it to flood when the rain was heavy and continued. There was a period where it seemed to rain 24/7 for days. It flooded only this time it rose up into the neighborhood. Houses where the water was up two to three feet for three blocks I remember. Breathtaking and scary for a little kid. Myself and a couple I friend’s standing there looking down the street and up rolls Pete in a WWII amphibious duck. Looked like a big giant boat with wheels. “You kids OK?” This man stops the thing, we are amazed. Yes sir. “Your mom, dad ok?” Yes sir. We can’t stop looking at this super hero guy I that thing. “I have to go look for others, I’m going into the water and look for stranded people.” Off he drove in the loud monster right into that lake looking to help others.

- Tim Forbes, Rincon, GA

My condolences to the family and friends & Chatham County to people all over the world heart that Peter touch sleep in heavenly peace Peter.

- Corletta L Hardy , Porthwenthworth , Ga

A candle has been lit!

May we offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Liakakis Family. Pete was a true Southern gentleman and a force of nature. He will never be forgotten.

- Terri and Mike Patillo, Savannah, GA

May the Perpetual Light Shine Upon Him.....

- William Harvey, Appomattox, VA

For Hundreds of Georgians, for many years, "Pete" was the ONE PERSON on Planet Earth whom "THOSE IN NEED OF A FRIEND" could depend upon, as witnessed by me, while employed with Secretary of State Max Cleland's Office. Pete was, VERY OFTEN, there on the behalf of the Citizens of Savannah and the State of Georgia. TAKE YOUR REST MY FRIEND!

- Roosevelt W. Campbell, Jr., Lawrenceville, 30044, GA

For Hundreds of Georgians, for many years, "Pete" was the ONE PERSON on Planet Earth whom "THOSE IN NEED OF A FRIEND" could depend upon, as witnessed by me, while employed with Secretary of State Max Cleland's Office. Pete was, VERY OFTEN, there on the behalf of the Citizens of Savannah and the State of Georgia. TAKE YOUR REST MY FRIEND!

- Roosevelt W. Campbell, Jr., Lawrenceville, 30044, GA

R.I.P. Thank you for being such a positive influence in my life.

- Shelly Lee Morris, PHOENIX, Arizona

Pete was always a part of the Fields FAMILY showing all the support in everything that goes on you will definitely be so missed We loved you but GOD loves you best

- BEVERLY BARTLEY FIELDS FAMILY , Savanah , Georgia

I've been hearing the name Pete Liakakis all of my life here in Savannah. I had the opportunity to get to know the Man and True Definition of a Public Servant 30 years ago and I've learned that in order to lead one must first be a SERVANT. A lesson I will keep Striving to Perfect until I reach The Kingdom where all Servants gather at the feet of The Servant Eternal.

- CLINTON YOUNG, Savannah, Georgia

I've been hearing the name Pete Liakakis all of my life here in Savannah. I had the opportunity to get to know the Man and True Definition of a Public Servant. A lesson I will strive to Perfect until I reach The Kingdom where all Servants gather at the feet of The Servant Eternal.

- CLINTON YOUNG, Savannah, Georgia

My prayers are with the family.

- Samantha Gillison Clay , Port Wentworth , Georgia

RIP. PETE

- James Staffordjr, St Simons Island, Georgia

So sorry to hear of Pete's passing. Our condolences to the family. A couple of things I will always remember, I (Art)first met Pete in around 1971 when I had returned to Savannah after my discharge from the Army. I was just about to enter the telephone company building on Drayton Street when Pete rushed out the door chasing a bad guy. I didn't see that guy so I guess he left before I got to the front of the building. Pete stopped and we talked for a few minutes before I went in. From then on we were friends. A few years later Pete asked me to switch over to United and work for him but I stayed with Bell. We were always running into Pete at various civic and government functions over the years. He was always involved with something. At the party he had after his first inauguration Pat and I got to see Pete dancing. If I remember correctly, in his blue suit and western boots he sure could dance. He was one of a kind, a Savannah icon who will be missed. Prayers going up from Pat and I for his family.

- Art and Pat Gunter, Savannah, GA

Rest in peace my friend

- Ricky Edgerly, Tybee Island, Ga

Mary Jean, I’m deeply saddened and sorry for your loss. My condolences to you, Tony and the entire family.

- Al Scott, Savannah , Georgia

I will miss standing with you as we volunteer with the many charities.. I give my condolences to the family of Mr. Pete. Our family loved him also.

- Murphy, Savannah, Ga.

i knew pete for a long time

- serra m carr, Ellabell, GA

My condolences to the family. May God bless each one of you. Mr. Pete will be missed.

- Samantha Herrington, Pooler, GA

Mr.pete we go miss you so much i thank god for and the time he gave you to spend with your family and friends you go be dearlly miss you did so much for people everybody you help god came and got him his work was done here i pray god bless your soul he came to get his Angel we love you Mr.pete RIP SharonRobbins

- Sharon Robbins, Savannah , Georgia

Mr. Liakakis was such a kind and professional man. As the now Retired Executive Assistant to several Presidents at Savannah State University, I had countless occasions to interact with him when he visited the campus through the years up to 2019. He loved and supported the Administration, the Faculty, Staff and Students of Savannah State University. He rarely missed programs or events, and could always be seen enjoying the Football Games from the President's Box. Your presence will be missed and your loyalty to the University will always be remembered. My sincere condolences to his entire family.

- Sheri Saleem Scott, Savannah, GA

. Pete was a true pleasure to know. My prayers are with you all.

- Kim Kelly, Savannah, GA

Mary Jean, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss of Pete. He and you were always a delight to work with while y'all were providing security for us at CITGO. I greatly appreciated and was impressed that any time I called for Pete I was patched through to his phone and he always answered. Also, he always attended our special occasions and was very nice to visit with. All my best to you, Ronnie Smith

- Ronald Smith, Savannah, Georgia

I knew Pete mostly through the St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee where he was always number one in ticket sales for the yearly raffle. Surely, he had a some Irish in him if only in spirit. What a special giving person! Slán! Yassou! R.I.P.

- Michael P. McCarthy, West Palm Beach, FL

Great guy great friend will miss him. He did a lot for Savannah

- Charles Sandt, Savannah, Ga

Services under the direction of:

Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel
912-352-7200