The Cultural Center was built. The classrooms in the educational wing needed desks and chairs, and a special campaign provided the furnishings. The Grand Hall had four white walls and a wooden floor. Its acoustics were considered poor. At this time a great tragedy struck the community. The much beloved Presbytera Maria departed from this life in October of 1993. The outpouring of grief and sympathy brought hundreds of people to express their love to the family and parish. The Parish Council unanimously adopted a Resolution on October 16 and the Parish Assembly on November 3, “Resolved: That the Grand Hall of the Greek Orthodox Cultural Center at Saint George be named in Honor and In Memory of Presbytera Maria Papaioannou”. In the meantime a Presbytera Maria Papaioannou Memorial Fund was established. Peter Barris was appointed trustee. The Memorial Fund raised $100,000 for the interior decoration of the Grand Hall.
The Presbytera Maria Maria Papaioannou Grand Hall Interior Decorating Committee was appointed: Elaine Lailas, Chair, Aliki Bryant, Co-Chair, Stacie Condrell and Hermione Fthenakis as Architects, Stratton Liapis, Building Committee Chair, Leon Andris, Building Committee, Vice Chair, Trianthe Dakolias, President, Parish Council, Athena Efessiou, President Philoptochos, Kathy Liapis and Kally Panagos, Philoptochos representatives, Maria Koutrouvelis, member-at-large, Tasos Vrenios, Victor Panagos, and Lula Sarris, choir representatives, with Father George as Ex Officio. Architects Stacie Condrell and Hermione Fthenakis worked together in planning. Stacie Condrell was responsible for designing the interior of Founders’ Hall, and Hermione Fthenakis designed the interior of the Grand Hall. At one point, the Fund was at $90,000. To reach the $100,000 goal, His Excellency Ambassador and Mrs. Loucas Tsilas hosted a reception at the Greek Embassy to benefit the completion of the interior of the Presbytera Maria Grand Hall.
During the celebration of the opening of the cultural center, the community presented Marilyn Rouvelas’ book: A Guide to Greek Traditions and Customs in America, which proved to be a best seller in the Greek-American community. The book was the result of the labors of the author and a group of women of the community. Father George Papaioannou served as the advisor to the author and as religious editor. The writing of the book was sponsored by the Philoptochos Society. It is one of the finest contributions that Saint George has made to the Greek-American Community in America.