Gregory Fotis was born June 6, 1925 to William A. and Julia Fotis, both of Greece. He lived his entire life in Bakersfield, attending local schools including BHS, and he was always proud to be a Driller. After WWII, he went on to complete his higher education at both Bakersfield College and UC Berkeley, where he earned two Bachelor's Degrees in Electrical and Chemical Engineering.
Greg was a veteran of WWII, but very rarely spoke of those days. He was in the 155th Infantry 29th Let's Go! Division. He fought on Omaha Beach on D-Day (on his birthday), and he was also in the Battle of the Bulge. He received numerous medals for his accomplishments, including the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
After the war and university, he went on to work for PG & E for 35 years, where he became an invaluable plant manager and superintendent, and became an authority figure and highly respected consultant for the company in the state of California.
Gregory had many long-time friends in the Greek community, among whom was Mary Stamoulis, who he eventually married in 1951. She was the love of his life and the light of his world, and he was a loving, honorable, and faithful husband for nearly 70 years. Mary was called home to be with the Lord in December of 2020, and Greg felt her loss keenly for the rest of his life. They had one daughter, Gigi Alexsaundra, in 1964, and Greg was the most precious and loving father any child could ever ask for. He was blessed with his dear son-in-law, Hugh Smith who became one of his best friends. They shared so much love and laughter together that they both came to regard each other as father and son. Gigi and Hugh had two sons, Nicholas and Gregory, and they both had the good fortune to be cared for, supported, and loved by their Papou Greg. He absolutely adored these boys and was immensely proud of them.
Greg was a man who was greatly beloved by everyone who knew him. People were always happy to see him walk into the room. He had an infectious laugh and a smile that could light up the most cheerless heart. He was smart, kind, funny, and generous. He would truly give someone the shirt off his back. He rescued countless animals over the years: dogs, cats, birds, snakes, turtles, coyotes; any animal that needed saving was in good hands with Greg. He was a mechanical genius: he could and did fix everything, and if he didn't have the right tool, he made one. He was a hilarious story-teller, and routinely fractured his family and friends with his humor and artistic hyperbole, which he wielded like a true word-smith. He had boundless vigor and was forever puttering in the garage and yard. The man never sat still. He had a love for tinkering with gadgets, especially cars, and brought to fruition many hand-drawn plans for everything from tool adaptations to construction projects.
A story that encapsulates the loving-kindness and humility of this man: During the war he always volunteered to be First Scout in the place of other soldiers who had families back home. He did not want their families to suffer the loss of their husband/father as this position regularly resulted in the death of the Scout. He felt that his own life was expendable, and thus could be forfeit. God clearly had other plans as Greg lived to be 96 years old.
Gregory had a deep and abiding love for God. He talked to God all day long in all of his activities and knew in his heart that it is the Lord alone who sustained his life. He was a firm believer that God gave man a mind and expected man to use it to overcome difficulties, with God's help and guidance. Greg was an active member of St. George Greek Orthodox Church for most of his life, and a devoted member of Trinity Anglican Church since 2005.
We are enormously thankful to dear friend and caregiver Michelle Mudryk who gave Greg the most tender care for more than a year, and her family who adopted Greg as an honorary family member. We are also thankful to the staff of Paradise Gardens, who tended Greg with care and attention.
His loss is deeply felt by his daughter Gigi, grandsons Nick and Greg, sister-in-law Sophie Stamoulis, cousins Sophia Kennedy of Portland OR, and Ted Karanson of Tacoma WA, nephew Greg Scott and wife Karin of Torrance CA, Craig and Cindy Trames (Arianna and Athena) and Michele and Ryan Douglas (Toby and Zack) of Portland OR. We are comforted by the truth that Greg is now a young man again with his Lord and Savior and is enjoying the company of those who predeceased him including wife Mary, son-in-law Hugh, his mother and father, sister Angelique and brother Sotir.
As he desired, a simple grave-site service will be held at Bakersfield National Cemetery, 30338 East Bear Mountain Blvd., Arvin, CA 93203 on Tuesday March 8 at 10:45. In lieu of flowers or plants, please make a donation to Trinity Anglican Church Capital Campaign.