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1937 Peter William Karras 2024

Peter William Karras

October 26, 1937 — April 12, 2024

Forest, Virginia

Peter William Karras, 86, of Forest, VA passed away on Friday, April 12, 2024 after a brief illness. He was the husband of the late Michele Tolley Karras.

Peter was born in Chicago, IL on October 26, 1937, the son of the late William Anastasios and Kay Angelacos Karras. Peter graduated with a degree in Accounting from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. He honorably served his country in the US Army Reserves. He began his career as a Certified Public Accountant with Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co. in Chicago and was soon promoted to the New York City office. After auditing a small start-up insurance company in Lynchburg, VA called First Colony Life, Peter was offered a job on the spot. In 1966 he and his wife, Alice Murdoch Karras, moved to Lynchburg where he raised his family and built his career.  As a core member of the close-knit leadership team, Peter helped grow First Colony Life from a start-up to one of the leading companies in the insurance space that was acquired in 1996 by GE Capital for $1.8 Billion.  After serving as the Senior Executive Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer of First Colony Life, Peter retired in 1998.   Known for his unwavering discipline and formidable presence, Peter impacted and inspired countless individuals across the First Colony family and the broader Lynchburg community. In addition to his successful career with First Colony Life, Peter was active in the Lynchburg business community serving on several boards including Centra Health, United Virginia Bank and Suntrust Bank.  

Peter is survived by his children William Murdoch Karras (Betsy Davidson) of Herndon, VA, Heather Elizabeth Karras of Forest, VA and Jeffrey Thomas Karras (Helen Yi) of San Francisco, CA. He is also survived by his grandchildren William Robley (Ashley) of Burke VA, Elizabeth Lyons of Alexandria, VA, Sally Davidson of Arlington, VA, James Arthur of San Francisco, CA and his great grandson, Griffin Jette of Burke, VA. In addition, Peter is survived by his stepsons Jeffrey Tolley of Forest, VA and Kevin Tolley (Katie) of Washington, PA, his brother Thomas William Karras (Demetra) of Berwyn, PA and stepbrother George Golemes (Linda) of Oakbrook, IL. Peter was predeceased by his stepmother Matina Karras and stepbrother John Golemes, both of Oak Park, IL.

A celebration of Peter’s life will be held on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 at 2:00PM in the chapel at Tharp Funeral home in Lynchburg, VA. The family will receive friends at the funeral home immediately following the ceremony.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Centra Health Foundation 1920 Atherholt Rd, Lynchburg, VA 24501.

Tharp Funeral Home and Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family.
To order memorial trees in memory of Peter William Karras, please visit our tree store.


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