Lou Parajos, a legend in the newspaper industry for more than 40 years, passed away on Monday, February 18. He was 64 years old.
A former editor-in-chief of The Queens Courier, Parajos spent 35 years at The Daily News, working his way up from the basement to the managing editor’s chair.
He held the title on September 11, 2001, and, according to the stories he told, “decided to suspend all advertising in the paper until baseball returned.”
Parajos, a third generation newsman, told cub reporters of how, in the days following 9/11, when he parked his car for work, it would be covered in a layer of dust.
“He was an excellent newspaperman and journalist who cared passionately about the paper, his colleagues and his subordinates,” said ex-wife Joan Nassivera.
Of his team, Nassivera said Parajos “had high expectations.”
“I learned an amazing amount from him,” Nassivera said. “I always loved him, admired him and respected him.”
He left The News in 2005 and brought his talent and knowledge to us.
In his years at The Courier, he nurtured and groomed many reporters, including this one.
Beneath a gruff exterior, there was a deeply caring man, “Sweet Lou” to his friends, who had a knack for bringing out talent in his reporters.
I learned much from him. He was a mentor, a coach, and above all, a friend. We shared countless laughs and innumerable storylines. He was always there for me, offering advice, teaching, helping.
To our pages he brought the ideas of enterprise journalism, investigative reporting and article series.
Under his tutelage, our paper won numerous New York Press Association awards, including second place for the Past Presidents’ Award for General Excellence.
“He was a passionate and talented journalist who really cared for his craft and brought years of experience to our company,” said Courier co-publisher Joshua Schneps.
His best friend, Victor Mimoni, with whom Parajos grew up, wrote a tribute on his Facebook page:
“Lou Parajos died yesterday. He was my bestest, oldest friend and my brother. Lou was one of the last of the old-time newspapermen. I miss you Lou.”
He is survived by his daughter, Amy Nassivera Parajos, her fiancé, Anthony Thanasides, and wife Carol.
“The two happiest days of his life,” said Nassivera, “were May 23, 1985, the day our daughter was born, and May 21, 1978, our wedding anniversary.
“He was an outstanding father and Amy was the absolute light of his life. The day she was born he said to me, ‘My life is complete.’”
“He was the most amazing father anyone could ask for,” said Amy.
A wake for Parajos will be held at Van Emburgh Funeral Home in Ridgewood, New Jersey from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, February 22.
According to his wishes he will be cremated.