Effie Frances Kapsalis Obituary, Death – After a valiant and protracted struggle with depression, Effie Kapsalis passed away on December 11, 2022, in the comfort of her home in Maryland. Effie was an unapologetic feminist who was passionately loved by a community that spanned the globe. She was devoted as a mother, wife, sister, and friend, and she was a joyful storyteller. She was also committed to community building and was a committed community builder. Her age was 51.
On April 21, 1971, Effie Kapsalis joined her parents, Andreas Kapsalis and Glenda Hawley Kapsalis, in the city of Chicago, Illinois. She received her bachelor’s degree from Evanston High School, her bachelor’s degree from Indiana University Bloomington in French language and literature, and her master’s degree from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in industrial design and pervasive technology. Her education began at Evanston High School and continued on to Indiana University Bloomington.
Effie began her professional life during the height of the online boom in the nineties, and she is now renowned on a global scale as an authority on open knowledge systems and equitable access. Her breakthrough came in 2005 when she began working as a digital worker for museums. Her work at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, District of Columbia, where she had been employed for a significant amount of time, was driven by a commitment to accessibility and engagement with the local community.
Effie was the driving force behind the creation of the Open Access Initiative at the Smithsonian Institution, which released millions of pictures from the institution’s collection into the public domain. She was one of the institution’s biggest collaborators, bringing together partners from the Smithsonian museums and museums all over the world. She was a significant collaborator on the One Smithsonian digital strategy, and she was also one of the greatest collaborators at the institution.
Effie was the person in charge of leading the Smithsonian’s efforts to increase the representation of women in the collection. She did this by developing the digital strategy for the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative, and she was also in charge of developing the digital strategy for the American Women’s History Museum, which will open in the near future. She also made a significant effort to pass on her knowledge to younger members of the museum community by giving presentations at museum conferences, organizing those conferences, and teaching museum studies as an adjunct professor at George Washington University.
Effie devoted her time and energy to her roles as a mother, wife, and friend. On May 31, 2008, she tied the knot with Andrew Curry in McLean, Virginia, in front of their friends and family. Her daughter, Melina Helen Kapsalis, was born in 2011.
Effie had a passion for food and cooking; she was famous for her homemade mayonnaise and was known for generously sharing her mouthwatering dishes with her family, friends, and neighbors. She was noted for her snappy fashion sense, often sporting her distinctive bright lipstick, funny glasses, and jazzy nails. She was known as “Giggles” among a small group of friends who were very close to her. She was also certified as a yoga instructor, and in addition to that, she enjoyed paddle boarding, as well as spending time on beaches and in the forests. She was very close to her two dogs, Hazel and Fig, and they were the ones who kept her company through many of the long hours she spent working remotely during COVID.
Effie’s background as the child of a foreign-born parent was an important aspect of her identity and served as the foundation for her interest in underrepresented groups and inclusiveness. She had a tremendous amount of pride in her Greek ancestry and made it a point to take her daughter to Greece so that she could meet several relatives who were still living there.
Effie is survived by her husband and daughter, as well as by her mother Glenda Kapsalis (Rasto Brezny), her sister Terri Kapsalis (John Corbett), and a large number of aunts, uncles, and cousins. She also leaves behind a large number of friends and colleagues who will miss having her presence in their lives.
The month of January will see the holding of a memorial service. To help keep Effie’s legacy alive, we ask that you please consider making a donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Greek America Foundation, or the National Organization for Women.