Iowa Gamma Phis band together to honor brother with a scholarship
Tony Lazos, Iowa State ’64, epitomized the Phi Delta Theta motto Εις ανηρ ουδεις ανηρ (One man is no man). In tribute to this son of immigrants who overcame adversity as a first-generation American and a marine officer in the Vietnam War, chapter brothers of Tony’s era have created a scholarship to help current and future Iowa Gamma undergraduates.
Tony was born in Sioux City, Iowa, to Greek parents and didn’t speak English until he entered grade school. He quickly overcame the language barrier and became an excellent scholar.
In 1963, he was named to Gamma Gamma, an honor by the ISU fraternity system for significant contributions to all-campus life and the visibility and reputation of the fraternity experience. Tony graduated from Iowa State University in 1964.
As a graduate of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps program, he was commissioned as a United States Marine Corps second lieutenant. He served in Vietnam and returned home as a captain and company commander.
Tony graduated from Harvard University in 1968 with a master’s in business administration, was active in several successful businesses, and ran several miles daily.
But on June 5, 2010, Tony was stricken with a variant of Guillain-Barré syndrome. This autoimmune condition causes a rapid onset of muscle weakness and damage to the peripheral nervous system. Within hours, he became paralyzed in his arms and legs. His physical condition resulted in the complete loss of his financial resources and permanent confinement to a hospital bed. For the balance of his life, he could not move and was entirely dependent upon others for all of life’s needs.
With the assistance of his Iowa Gamma Phi Delt brothers, Tony began communicating via voice-activated computer emails and maintained an active life online with his classmates, fellow marines, and friends in his local church.
Despite financial losses, physical isolation, and the inability to move, Tony was neither angry nor envious. Supported by a quiet and enduring faith, he maintained a cheerful and intellectual disposition that encouraged and inspired others. His genuine smile and indomitable spirit impressed all those who visited him.
Tony Lazos died on July 21, 2021, at seventy-eight, survived by his son and two daughters.
On November 7, 2022, at the Iowa Gamma Chapter house, undergraduates, alumni, friends, and family attended the first scholarship presentation. Brothers Bill Farr and Clark Munger had spearheaded the fundraising and event planning. Brother Dick Bruner and Chapter President Logan Bible had installed the plaque in the living room.
At the event, MC’d by Clark, were Tony’s sister, Georgia Patramanis, and Brothers Bill Rhymer, Dan Longnecker, Phi Province President Jay Longnecker, Iowa Gamma House Corporation Treasurer Toby Geiger, and photographer friend Jerry Gipper.
The first two scholarships, each $500, were awarded to Ben Zellmer, ’23, and Joseph Rozell Jr., ’23.
Georgia expressed heartfelt thanks to Tony’s Phi Delt brothers for everything they did to support him in his final days and to honor his memory. She encouraged the current members to maintain their Phi Delt friendships forever.
In describing the event, Toby Geiger later remarked, “It also showed the undergrads what being a ‘Brother for Life’ looks like. It was an impactful night.”
Being a Phi
Tony’s actions as a chapter brother and citizen reflect the three Cardinal Principles.
Friendship—being a true friend was Tony’s gift. There were countless examples throughout his life that provided color.
Sound Learning—scholarship was Tony’s delight. His academic record contributed to a Harvard Trophy win in 1962. His MBA was applied to significant success in business. He carried this passion to the final days of his life by writing lively correspondence to his peer chapter brothers. He was a deep thinker, which led to enthusiastic research and shared introspection for both author and recipient.
Rectitude—a strong character was Tony’s hallmark. It’s one thing to be a friend and another to be exemplary, even with those who are senior in experience and circumstance. The impact of this quality is at the core of the dedication of the scholarship—and a story that should touch every Phi of every age.