Ten Questions: Ocean brought retired priest to Del Mar


Philip J. Pekras is a retired Greek Orthodox priest who served the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese from 1955 to 1976. His last assignment was dean of the St. Sophia Cathedral in Los Angeles.

Previous assignments were in Tampa, Fla., where he developed the first Parochial School in the Diocese and taught comparative religions at Tampa University; and Des Plains, Ill., where he established the first Chicago suburban parish.

Since his retirement, he has started new ventures in a variety of businesses. He was the owner of Corporate Consultant’s Group, which provided human resource management, training programs and outplacement for organizations such as the Salk Institute.

He currently serves as a trustee on the board of United Through Reading, a Sorrento Valley-based nonprofit organization that helps separated families stay connected through reading.

What brought you to Del Mar?

The ocean and the community brought me to Del Mar. I love walking the beach in Del Mar. I have to be close to the water. It helps me relax and meditate.

What makes Del Mar special to you?

I find the area to be quaint. Expanding the sidewalk cafes would make it seem a bit more like Europe. When you walk the streets, you can see different types of people. It seems like the tourists as well as the residents enjoy being here.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in Del Mar?

I think Del Mar will always be an attraction, but if I could, I’d alleviate the parking problem.

Who or what inspires you?

Most of my inspiration comes from God. He inspires me to live according to his commandments. He gives me the reason for living.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

My first answer would be my wife, Carol, my children and nine grandchildren, but that would be more than eight! I think I’d invite a group of my dear friends. They enrich my life. I’m still in touch with some of whom served with me as altar boys when I was growing up in Chicago.

What are you currently reading?

“Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices and Priorities of a Winning Life” by Tony Dungy. Also, “Big Russ” by Tim Russert,

What is your most prized possession?

My father’s wedding band. I had a jeweler use half of it as an accent band on my wife Carol’s wedding band and the other half as an accent band on mine. We’ve been married 29 years.

What do you do for fun?

I love the beach. I walk the beach often. Walking the beach has saved me from having open-heart surgery.

Describe your greatest accomplishment.

I would say that adaptability to change careers is my greatest accomplishment. I was able to enter industries and positions that presented new challenges. I have the belief that change can be good and even healthy. It opens up new worlds and new horizons.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

I try to be a better Christian every day of my life. That’s it!