Our good friend and frequent visiting Rotarian John Travlos was the Guest Speaker, and the subject was Aristotle Onassis. ‘Ari’ as he was known was viewed either as a cruel, callous, get rich quick philanderer, or else as an outstanding and caring philanthropist, and the facts point to the latter being true. He was born in what is now Turkey in 1906, but his family fled to Greece in 1922 at the time of the burning of Smyrna. A year later he went to Argentina where he started a tobacco trading enterprise, selling stock that he bought in Turkey. However the shipping was unreliable, so Ari bought a ship and started the Olympic Maritime Company. He added many redundant USA Q-ships to his stock after WWII, turning them into freighters, and then added tankers so that he could transport oil for the 7 largest oil companies. Early in 1953 he started buying shares in Monaco’s SBM (owner of the Casino), and he achieved a majority holding. This later ended in tears when he had a spat with Prince Rainier about the future of the country. In 1956 Ari contracted with the Greek Government to run their air transport industry, and so Olympic Airways was born. Ari married Tina in 1946, and they had 2 children – Alexander and Christina – both of whom died at a relatively young age. Ari named his luxurious yacht, which he acquired in 1954, after his daughter and he entertained many prominent figures over the years, including Winston Churchill, John F Kennedy and of course Jackie Kennedy. On his death in 1975 he left the yacht to Christina, but she didn’t want it and so she gave it to the Greek Government. John also showed us many interesting slides featuring Ari and the family, and pointed out that Ari was an imposing fellow whose motto was ‘arete’ – excellence. He loved opera and had a long affair with Maria Callas. His marriage to Jackie Kennedy in 1968 effectively ended after about four years, but she kept his surname and after he died Jackie got a payout from Christina not to contest the will. Fascinating topic, and very well delivered by John!