Our precious and beloved mother and grandmother (Yiayia) went to be with our Lord, Jesus Christ, on Tuesday morning, 1:45 AM, at Memorial Hospital, with both her children at her side. Her final two days on this earth were filled with struggle as she fought hard to remain with us, but God had greater plans for her, and we acknowledge, praise, and thank Him for giving her peaceful rest and eternal love in His presence. Her fight to stay alive exemplifies how she lived – tenaciously determined to overcome each challenge she faced; steadfastly committed to her family through great love; and deeply faithful to God. As we mourn her passing from our lives, we know she would admonish us for too much weeping, telling us as she often would during difficult times, “That’s life! Keep going! You can do it!”
Born in Kythera, Greece, May 10, 1927, she and her parents and two brothers immigrated to the United States right after WWII, at the start of Greece’s civil war. From a comfortable and happy life, she and her family were thrust into an unfamiliar environment to start again. Little money, no job, and limited English-speaking ability, our mother enrolled at the Bakersfield Adult School to learn English, took sewing lessons, and got a job as a seamstress for Fedway, one of our city’s early department stores, which helped give her family the means to begin rebuilding their lives. Once married and her children in school, she took a job at the Kern High School District, Food Services, where she worked for 25 years and eventually became the head of the pastry department. Always tinkering with a recipe to improve its quality, she took great pride and satisfaction in providing the students with a tasty treat. She also took pleasure in the work, itself, and in the life-long friendships she cultivated throughout her working life.
Genuine and giving in every aspect of her life, our mother was a rock for all of us. She was present in every conversation, attentive to all needs, and supportive of most endeavors. Just being with her or speaking with her would make us feel better. She had a unique ability to encourage all of us. Her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, godchildren, and friends called and visited frequently for a dose of that encouragement and to draw from her profound and enduring strength. She didn’t blow smoke, but rather let us know her sincere opinion, and we valued it. With little physical strength remaining during her final years, but with a strong mind and all of her intelligence fully in place, our mother made us so very proud of who she was and what she accomplished in her life. We will miss her.
Trisagion will be held on Sunday evening, December 15, 7:00 PM, at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 401 Truxtun Avenue. Funeral service will be held on Monday, December 16, 10:00 AM, also at St. George. Graveside service will follow funeral service. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. George Greek Orthodox Church or to St. George Philoptochos Society, an organization that helps those in need and of which our mother was a dedicated member.