Pedestrians walking along Richmond Street In Soho, just south of Horton, may notice a small green space. A wooden plaque, placed at the front of the lot, reads: “In Memoriam”. Below the name of Dr. John Agnos, is the word “Naturalist.”
This narrow green space, next to an interesting white frame double house, pays tribute to John Agnos, the first Greek immigrant doctor in London. Agnos, a noted radiologist, graduated summa cum laude from the UWO Medical School in 1952.
John’s parents, William (Bill) Konstantin Agnos and Pinio (Liabotis) Agnos, are believed to be the first Greek family to settle permanently in London. William arrived in London in 1927; his wife and two children followed in 1935. In later years, the Agnos family lived in the handsome red brick house, built in 1945, at 230 Richmond Street.
Mr. Agnos Sr. operated Capitol Shoe Repair on the site now occupied by the green space. In addition to repairing shoes, he also cleaned and blocked hats. John Agnos and his sisters, Georgia and Mary, attended nearby Governor Simcoe Public School. All three siblings later attended Western and all pursued professional careers.
While Dr. Agnos was a doctor by profession, his vocation was nature – he was a passionate naturalist. His columns on the area’s natural attractions appeared in the London Free Press for some years. Tragically, on October 31, 1991, while returning from an outing to the Hawk Cliff bird viewing area near Port Stanley, he was killed in an automobile accident.
As well as dedicating the green space in her brother’s memory, Georgia Velos published a history of her brother and their family, available at the Central Library. The book is titled: Dr. John Agnos, Renaissance Man, A Tribute to Him and his Family.