Mike Sarris, 77, the former commander of the Woodstock-based American Legion Post 316, died Monday after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Funeral services have been set for Aug. 15 at Woodstock Funeral Home and burial will take place at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton.
Cynthia Vogt, Sarris’ daughter, said her father battled stage four lung cancer for the past nine months.
Vogt said the cancer recently spread to Sarris’ bones and on June 7 her father had surgery to insert a rod in place of deteriorating bone.
Vogt, who lives in Connecticut, said her father never fully recovered from the operation. The cancer ate away at his bone, which caused calcium to leak into his bloodstream.
Vogt said the calcium deposits made their way to her father’s brain, thus making it hard for him to speak clearly.
Sarris spent the last two weeks in his life in hospice care and the family focused on making his last days as comfortable as possible.
Vogt said she had been “grieving constantly” about her father’s condition.
“The last two months have been extremely difficult,” she said.
Current Post Commander Irma Martin said she and other members are saddened by the loss. Sarris really loved the legion and worked tirelessly to volunteer at its many events, she said.
“He felt like it was family to him,” she said of the legion and its members.
Sarris served as commander of the post between 2006 and 2007. Before that, he served as the post’s adjutant and was committed to increasing the post’s membership.
Sarris even helped train Martin for the adjutant position she held before becoming commander, something she said she deeply appreciated.
“He will definitely be missed,” she said.
Charlie Tucker, current director for the American Legion Georgia Boys State and past commander of the American Legion Post 316, said Sarris was a “very likable” guy who “was definitely a friend of the veterans.”
Woodstock City Councilman and American Legion member Bud Leonard said Sarris was responsible for getting him involved in the legion.
Leonard said he’d known Sarris for about four years and noted he had a “very deep commitment to the military veterans.”
“Mike was a good friend,” he said.
Sarris was born on May 11, 1934 in Berea, Ohio, and attended Baldwin-Wallace College in his hometown.
He played baseball throughout his youth. He served in the U.S. Army between World War II and the Korean War and was stationed in Germany during his tenure.
After the Army, Sarris went to work for Ford Motor Company in Cleveland, Ohio. He later worked for Traveler’s Insurance through the 1970s.
Sarris is survived by wife Mary Sarris, ex-wife Marianne Cline, daughters Vogt and Christina Brummett, brother Nick Sarris, six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Vogt said her father was a likeable person who tried to get to know something about everyone he talked to.
She also noted he was a hard worker and worked up until a month before he passed away.
Vogt noted her father truly enjoyed the American Legion and loved being involved in the organization’s charities.
“He made a difference in people’s lives and I don’t think he really realized that,” she said.