Georgia Bobolis Larson
Georgia Bobolis Larson passed away on June 17, 2021 and began the last phase of her life. She was born on June 17, 1933 in Ogden, Utah, the last child of James C. and Helen Bobolis. She was preceded in death by the beloved sisters Helen (Mrs. George Mahlis), Sylvia (Mrs. Laurence Lee) and her esteemed brother William Bobolis and her esteemed husband Professor Gerard A. Larson (Doc to his Students). She leaves behind her beloved sister-in-law Evelyn Bobolis and adored nieces Stephanie Bobolis, Dr. Kristie Bobolis (Dr. Charles McDonnell), Jamie Bobolis, Professor Kristen Mahlis (Professor Donald Miller) and nephews Larry Mahlis (Meg), James Mahlis and four great-nieces: Diana and Mary McDonnell and Eleni and Ingelise Mahlis-Miller. Georgia loved her family unconditionally and was eternally grateful for all the love and joy they brought into their lives. She loved being an aunt and often quoted Jane Austen’s tribute:
“Never underestimate the importance of aunts” – and “Uncle” Gerry would remind them of that.
Georgia received her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Utah, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She studied at Kings College, the University of London and the Stanford Institute of Renaissance Studies. At U of U, Georgia met Gerard Larson, who was just finishing his Ph.D. in theatrical art. It was truly love at first sight, and they were married in June 1957 at Holy Trinity, the Greek Orthodox Church in Salt Lake City. By the end of that summer they were on their way to Sacramento, where Gerard had accepted a position at Sacramento State College – now CSUS – and Georgia was hired as an English teacher at a school that was just beginning – Highlands High School, where she was up taught in 1964.
After returning from an exciting semester abroad, she began teaching at Foothill High School, where she taught until 1973. During her years in the Grant Union District, she received many honors and awards, including the Mildren A. Dawson Award for Outstanding Teaching. From 1981 to 1991 she taught at St. Francis Girls’ High School, where she taught the Advanced Placement classes in literature and composition. As a dedicated and demanding teacher, Georgia maintained – always Mrs. Larson to her former students – strong and loving relationships with her former students – especially her Highlands students. Once a month they met for lunch (a favorite was Mimi’s) to chat and reminisce. She tried not to miss any reunion and was a frequent guest speaker.
Having no children of their own, their students were a cherished and important part of Georgia and Gerry’s life. Their life together was devoted to their teaching, their European travels and their honored nieces, nephews and great-nieces.
Before Gerard’s death in March 1999, Georgia and Gerry played two special performances of AB Gurney’s LOVE LETTERS as a fundraiser for the University Theater Arts Dept. and Scholarship Fund. After his death ended a brilliant career as a teacher and lecturer, director, actor, and playwright, Georgia established the Gerard A. Larson Memorial Endowment Fund to provide an annual scholarship to an outstanding graduate student in the Department of Theater and Dance. To raise money, Georgia did something she had never done before: she wrote a number of original music reviews. These series, called The LOVE LETTERS, honored the popular American songwriters who loved her and Gerry. With the help of her talented musical friends, Georgia shared the important aspects of their lives together and even sang some of her favorite songs from Noel Coward, Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein and the Gershwins.
The warm response from the audience and the love and support from friends and family made the foundation a reality. Every year, two deserving students receive a Larson Endowment scholarship. Since Georgia was a fellow and Gerry was enjoying the benefits of the GI Act, that Memorial Fellowship had special meaning to her. It gave her a reason – despite her deep grief – to go on living, to keep creating, to keep giving back.
In addition, Georgia continued her late husband’s participation in the annual high schools drama competition, the Lenaea Festival, by delivering the opening lecture on some aspects of the literature and life of Ancient Greece and the Golden Age of Drama.
Georgia loves literature and life and is an avid reader. She really enjoyed working with local libraries and reading clubs. These dedicated, hardworking librarians and teachers became not only her friends, but also mentors who opened the doors to a new world for her: the world of children’s and youth literature. She has always been grateful to her dear friends Terry and Penny Kastanis for including them in this special group.
Proud of her Greek heritage and the legacy of her courageous immigrant parents, Georgia was a lifelong member of the Greek Orthodox Church of Annunciation. She was particularly proud to be the official spokesperson for the concerts and recordings of her church choir. (Of course, her brother Bill was the choirmaster, her sister-in-law Evelyn was the organist, and her nieces all sang in the choir.)
Georgia, like her mother and sisters, was a proud member of the Philoptochos Society. She spoke often at Church Senior League lunches and was a strong supporter of the American Hellenic Professional Society. Unfortunately, unlike her mother, sisters, and beloved sister-in-law Evelyn, Georgia wasn’t an excellent cook or baker, but she loved Greek food and sweets. She never missed a Greek food festival and never stopped reciting Greek poetry, singing Greek songs, or even (despite debilitating arthritic pain) dancing Greek dances. The Greek zest for life blessed and sustained them.
Until the end, Georgia remained true to the values represented by her parents and family, her friends and colleagues, her former students, and their own beloved teachers and mentors: an unwavering appreciation and love for learning and reading, respect for excellence, a passionate desire for social justice and equality, absolute devotion to the arts and a deep commitment to the principles of one’s own belief.
Georgia never forgot her roots or her admiration for her brave parents and her beloved Uncle George (her godfather), who made her not only proud of her Greek origins, but also pride of her adopted home, the United States of America. Like her, she was an ardent liberal democrat and, like her, she never missed a choice.
Georgia was many things to many people. She would probably want to be remembered at the end of every LOVE LETTERS revue as what she liked to call herself – the “Utah girl who became a California girl” and, most importantly, “the happiest girl in the world”. She had married the man of dreams and they had had a wonderful marriage full of love and adventure. She had wonderful, loving family and many friends, a home full of books and music and wonderful memories. She never wanted to be anything but an English teacher and forged a lasting bond with her students that lasted a lifetime. She loved lighting candles for everyone and never forgot the power of prayer and hope. She experienced both great grief and great joy in her lifetime, but she truly believed that LIFE IS THE WORD. She loved quoting from the great writers she had studied and if she spoke to us today she would probably want us to think of the words of the great poet by TS Eliot:
“In my beginning is my end. In my end is my beginning.”
The following services will be held in the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, 600 Alhambra Blvd. held. Sacramento, California.
Trisagion Thursday, July 1, 2021 at 7 p.m.
Funeral Friday, July 2, 2021, 10 a.m.
For those who would like to donate in their memory instead of flowers, please keep this in mind
Gerard A. Larson Memorial Endowment Fund CSUS 6000 J Street Sacramento, CA 95819. (916) 278-6989
Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation Building Fund 616 Alhambra Blvd. Sacramento, CA 95816