The Very Rev. John Platko, 57, rector of Holy Trinity Church here, fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, April 17, 2005 after a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer.
Born on January 19, 1948 in Joliet, Illinois, Father John spent his youth in Illinois where he showed an early aptitude for music. Among the instruments he played were piano, French horn, trumpet, and banjo. He attended Iona College, New Rochelle, NY, and received a degree in music theory and application from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL. He received the Master in Divinity degree from Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Crestwood, NY.
In 1977, he and his wife, the former Aphrodite Haritou, relocated to the Kansas City area, where he continued his scholarly pursuit of music theory at Kansas University and served as deacon at Saint Theodore of Tarsus Church. Shortly thereafter, he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood and began his 26-year pastorate at Holy Trinity Church, then located in Kansas City, Kansas. In addition to his pastoral duties, he served as dean of the Saint Louis Deanery.
Father John was well known for sharing generously his many gifts with countless friends. As a composer, he shared his talent with choirs across the nation. As a scholar, he taught courses in liturgical music at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, South Canaan, PA. A gifted vocalist with perfect pitch, he was a member of Saint Vladimir’s Octet and once performed in Lincoln Center. More recently, his true and solid voice led his parish in prayer for thousands of services. As a master carpenter and architect, he renovated the parish’s original buildings and was the primary visionary for the design of the parish’s recently constructed church. His interests ranged from fixing cars to teaching piano to enjoying sports of all types. He also taught music at Notre Dame de Sion lower school. Additional interests included reading works of American history and the writings of the Church Fathers. He also lectured on Church history at Nazarene College, Kansas City, MO.
Committed to service, Father John served on the board of trustees at Bethany Hospital for a number of years. Truly a pastor, he knew his flock well, as evidenced in his memorable and personal homilies. Dedicated to the youth of the Church, he was the primary leader and teacher at the area’s annual pan-Orthodox summer camps for 23 years.
The legacy that Father John leaves is measureless and only beginning to be fully realized. A devoted husband and father, his generous love allowed him to become a father to his entire parish family. Unerringly, he saw the best in everyone. His family, friends, and parishioners were blessed to share in his stable leadership and vision. Under his guidance, Holy Trinity parish became a flourishing community. He was not only gifted, but giving, the embodiment of joy. Whether entertaining the children, who loved him unstintingly, or helping in the kitchen during festivals, he was ever-present in the lives of his friends and family. With dignity and humility he guided his parishioners to the light of truth and wisdom.
In addition to his wife of 32 years, Aphrodite, Father John is survived by two sons, Nicholas and Justin; his brother, Stephen; his sister, Christine Serkland; his in-laws, Haritos S. and Thomay Haritou; his sister-in-law, Helen Chamberlain; several nieces and nephews, and his extended parish family and friends.
Visitation will be held at Holy Trinity Church on Wednesday evening, April 20, with the funeral service at 7:00 p.m. The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 21.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Capital Improvement Fund of Holy Trinity Church, 11901 Pflumm Road, Overland Park, KS 66213.
May Father John’s memory be eternal!