George Emanuel Stavros
January 10, 1925 ~ September 15, 2023
Castle Gate, Utah
Resided in: Rancho Palos Verdes, California
George Emanuel Stavros was born in Castle Gate, Utah. He was raised in Kenilworth, a company town situated against the coal bearing Book Cliffs of central Utah. He was the son of emigrants from the island of Crete, Greece. He cherished his early life in Kenilworth, his friends called him “Spec” for special. His world was tiny company houses, dirt streets, and steep canyons. His father died working in the coal mine in 1933, George was just 8 years old. Later George’s mother remarried and life continued. George worked in the Kenilworth Mercantile in the produce and meat department. He operated the projector for weekly screenings of Hollywood movies. Movies became a lifetime passion for George.
In the summer of 1943 George was drafted into the Army. This prevented him from beginning his senior year at Carbon High School in Price, Utah. Following basic training in Oklahoma, he was assigned to the 42nd Infantry Division known as the Rainbow Division. In November of 1944 the Division was shipped to Europe to join the fighting. They went into combat on Christmas Eve in the Alsace area. In combat for 100 days over 5 months the division advanced from France across Germany to Austria and suffered 4000 casualties. The result of this fighting and sacrifice was the unconditional surrender of Germany. For these battlefield achievements the soldiers were awarded a “meritorious unit citation”.
During the war George’s family had followed Uncle Tony Louros and his family to San Pedro. George was discharged back to Utah in 1946. At 21 years old George followed his family to California where he built a new life. He became involved with the Greek Orthodox Church in Long Beach. He got hired at DiCarlos bakery where he worked for 16 years.
He met Helen Dandoulakis in the Long Beach community. Helen was known by some of her friends as “Becky” after her stepfather George Beckas. Helen’s own father had died when she was just 8 years old. George and Helen were married in 1950. Between 1952 and 1964 George and Helen had their four boys. Mike, Steve, Tony, and Chris. In 1962 George left DiCarlo’s to become a restaurant owner. He started with the Silver Skates restaurant in Harbor City, followed by the Wayfarer and Hot n Tot restaurants in Lomita. The customers loved George, he was a natural at mixing with them, telling his jokes and making people laugh. Many of his customers became life long friends.
George and Helen’s first house was on Wycliff in San Pedro, later as the family grew a new house on Stokowski Drive was purchased in 1963, the same house where George passed away in 2023. George was bestowed with the unofficial title of the “Mayor” of Stokowski Drive by neighbors early in his residence there.
George was a sports fan, especially of the USC Trojans, and he converted a couple generations of family and friends to the USC football traditions of Saturday tail gates and trips to road games. Those road game trips created lasting family memories. He was a pioneer utilizing the new home video tape equipment, recording games and movies. His massive collection was unrivaled and a first in his neighborhood.
George and Helen became active in the new St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church in Redondo during its establishment. Participating in many of its community functions and organizations, also they were active in the Ahepa and the Pancretan Association. In 1990, after 40 years of marriage, George’s beloved Helen died after a two year battle with cancer. George continued operating the Hot n Tot restaurant through this time of grief and adjustment.
In 1993 George retired. About this time he found companionship with a widow whose husband had been involved with the South Bay Trojan Club. Shirley Byrne and George found much in common. They continued the USC traditions and Shirley fit right in to the St. Katherine community. They took numerous trips to Las Vegas and local casinos, they had a lot of fun. Shirley eventually shared the house on Stokowski with George until she passed away in 2021, they were together for 25 years!
After Shirley’s passing George continued to live in his Stokowski home, with his caregiver Rachel. They made a good pair, she cared for George like the daughter that he never had. Well into his 98th year she would help get George ready for the day which included running errands and sightseeing around the city. George even convinced Rachel to drive him out to the local tribal casinos on numerous occasions to spend the afternoon. Rachel and George had 11 years of friendship.
In June of 2022, Vicky was added to George’s care team. This was then 24-7 care for him at his home. George adapted to all of this beautifully and was content with the arrangement. Our family was fortunate to be able to keep George in his home right to the end.
Our dad experienced his share of difficulties, personal loss, and sadness throughout his life. He was a true soldier that kept moving forward. Every new situation was good enough for him. He was lucky to remain alert, active, and without suffering throughout his final days. We were blessed to have him in our life for so many years. His memory will be eternal.
George was preceded in death by his parents, wife of 40 years Helen, brothers Tony, Steve, Mike, and John, and companion of 25 years Shirley Byrne. He is survived by son Michael (Kit), Steve (Wendy), Tony (Marian) and Chris (Ame). Papou George is also survived by his grandkids Christoper, Kara Hansen (Eric), Kristina, Candace Luce (Anthony), Tim (Haley), Alex and great grandkids Jax and Ford. Also he is survived by sister Evelyn Rapoza, sisters in law Valerie Morgan, Mary Lou Lakis and his dear cousin Kay Alex.
We especially thank caregivers Rachel Hernandez and Vezira (Vicky) Neimar.
Services will be at St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church in Redondo Beach on Friday September 22, 2023 at 12pm with lunch immediately following in the Community center. Interment will follow at Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations in memory of George to St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church, 722 Knob Hill Ave. Redondo Beach, Ca. 90277.
Service: September 22, 2023 12:00 pm
St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church
722 Knob Hill Ave.
Redondo Beach, CA 90277