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Creator of 'Prompto' oil change chain passes away at 89 years old

Charlie Kapothanasis was 89 years old and died in Westbrook on New Year’s Eve after a brief illness
Credit: Charlie Kapothanasis's family
Charlie Kapothanasis

WESTBROOK, Maine — Mr. Constantine (Charlie) Kapothanasis of Westbrook, born on June 28, 1929, passed away on the morning of December 31st, 2018 after a brief illness.

Charlie left his hometown of Kalamata, Greece in 1957 on a boat that brought him to Portland. He quickly got a job at the Olympic Restaurant where he met a young lady by the name of Effie (maiden name?). It was love at first sight and they were married a week later. The two enjoyed a happy and blissful union of 61 years and even in his final days they still enjoyed holding hands and watching basketball on TV.

He was a devout family man and always made sure family came before everything else. His sons describe him as a wonderful, loving father who always had time for his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He once said his net worth was $3 million because each of his boys was worth a million dollars to him.

Charlie was a pillar of Portland’s Greek community and often hosted parties and dinners where he would entertain his fellow Greeks for hours. To them he was known as Costa but everybody else knew him as Charlie.  He was a long-time member of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Portland, and a passionate supporter of the church’s Greek School where Greek language, history and culture is still taught to this day. He was also a 50-year member of the Portland chapter of AHEPA, a club that helps Greeks assimilate into American society.

Charlie was a pioneer in the Portland business community. After leaving the restaurant, he became known as the guru of Volkswagon repairs. He eventually opened K Brother Repairs in Portland and turned it into a thriving business.

But Charlie had a bigger vision and in 1984 he opened a new shop in Portland by the name of Prompto. You’ve probably heard of it by now. They are the masters of the ten-minute oil change. Since that first store opened it doors, 23 others followed across Maine and Hampshire, and another is scheduled to open soon in Scarborough. The business has become a family affair that is now managed by his sons. They say it will be run the way Charlie would want it to be run, like a family and they are proud to now be able to offer health care benefits to all its employees.

Charlie had many hobbies, but he had a passion for horses, training and owning some of the finest thoroughbreds in New England.

Charlie is survived by his wife Effie; their sons Christo and his wife Kim, Paul and his wife Irene and Tasso and his wife Valentina; their grandchildren Christie, Costas, James, Gregory, Alexander, Nicolette, Anastasia and Evangelo and their great-grandchildren Ellie and Christo.

Visiting hours are Friday at the Jones and Rich Funeral Home. His funeral will be Saturday at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Portland at xx. Donations can be made to the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in his memory.