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Georgia Bobolis Larson

Jun 26, 2021

Georgia Bobolis Larson

On June 17, 2021 Georgia Bobolis Larson passed away, beginning the final phase of her life’s journey. She was born in Ogden, Utah, on June 17, 1933, the last child of James C. and Helen Bobolis. She was preceded in death by beloved sisters Helen (Mrs. George Mahlis), Sylvia (Mrs. Laurence Lee) and her treasured brother, William Bobolis, and her adored 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 had brought into her life. She loved being an aunt and often quoted Jane Austen’s tribute:

“Never underestimate the importance of aunts” – and “uncles” Gerry would remind her.

Georgia received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature from the University of Utah where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She did graduate studies at Kings College, the University of London, and the Stanford Institute of Renaissance Studies. It was at the U of U that Georgia met Gerard Larson, who was completing his Ph.D. in Theatre Arts. It was truly “love at first sight” and they married in June of 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 had been hired as an English teacher at a school just beginning – Highlands High School, where she taught until 1964.

After returning from an exciting sabbatical year 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. A dedicated and demanding teacher, Georgia – always Mrs. Larson to her former students – maintained a strong and loving relationship with her former students – especially her Highlands students. Once a month they would meet for lunch (a favorite restaurant was Mimi’s) to talk and reminisce. She tried never to miss a reunion and, frequently, was the guest speaker.

Not having had children of their own, their students were a cherished and important part of Georgia’s and Gerry’s lives. Their life together was dedicated to their teaching, their European travels, and their adored nieces, nephews, and great-nieces.

Before Gerard’s death in March of 1999, Georgia and Gerry did two special performances of A. B. Gurney’s LOVE LETTERS as a fundraiser for the University Theatre 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 a yearly scholarship for an outstanding continuing student in the Dept. of Theatre and Dance. To raise funds, Georgia did something she had never done before: she wrote a series of original musical revues. Called The LOVE LETTERS series, these shows honored the popular American songwriters she and Gerry had loved. With the help of her talented musical friends, Georgia related the important aspects of their life together and even sang some of their favorite songs by Noel Coward, Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and the Gershwins.

The warm audience response and the love and support of friends and family made the Endowment a reality. Every year two deserving students receive a scholarship from the Larson Endowment. Because Georgia had been a scholarship winner and Gerry had enjoyed the benefits of the GI Bill, this Memorial Scholarship had a very special meaning for her. It gave her a reason – despite her deep grief – to keep living, to keep creating, to keep giving back.

In addition, Georgia continued her late husband’s participation in the annual Drama Contest for High Schools, the Lenaea Festival, by giving the opening lecture on some aspect of the literature and life of Ancient Greece and the Golden Age of Drama.

Passionate about literature and life and an avid reader, Georgia deeply enjoyed her involvement with local library and reading associations. Not only did these dedicated, hardworking librarians and teachers become her friends, they became mentors, opening the doors to a new world for her: the world of literature for children and young readers. She was always grateful to her dear friends Terry and Penny Kastanis for including her in this special group.

Proud of her Greek heritage and the legacy of her courageous immigrant parents, Georgia was a lifelong member of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. She was especially proud to be the official narrator for her parish choir’s concerts and recordings. (Of course, her brother Bill was the choir director, her sister-in-law Evelyn was the organist, and her nieces all sang in the choir.)

Like her mother and sisters, Georgia was a proud member of the Philoptochos Society. She often spoke at the Church Senior League luncheons and was a strong supporter of the American Hellenic Professional Society. Sadly, unlike her mother, her sisters, and her beloved sister-in-law Evelyn, Georgia was not a superb cook or baker, but she loved Greek food and Greek sweets. She never missed a Greek Food Festival nor did she ever stop reciting Greek poetry, singing Greek songs, or even (despite crippling arthritic pain) doing some Greek dancing. The Greek love of life blessed and sustained her.

To the end, Georgia remained committed to the values represented by her parents and family, her friends and colleagues, her former students and her own beloved teachers and mentors: an unswerving regard and love for learning and literacy, a respect for excellence, a passionate desire for social justice and equality, an absolute devotion to the arts, and a deep commitment to the principles of one’s faith.

Georgia never forgot her roots or her admiration for her courageous parents and her beloved Uncle George (her Godfather) who instilled in her not only pride in her Greek heritage but pride in their adopted country, the United States of America. Like them, she was an ardent liberal democrat and – like them – she never missed an election.

Georgia was many things to many people. She would probably want to be remembered as what she liked to call herself at the end of each LOVE LETTERS Revue – the “girl from Utah who became a California girl” and – most important -“the luckiest girl in the world.” She had married the man of the dreams and they had had a wonderful marriage full of love and adventure. She had a wonderful loving family and many friends, a home filled with books and music and cherished memories. She never wanted to be anything but an English teacher and she formed an enduring bond with her students that lasted a lifetime. She loved lighting candles for everyone, never forgetting the power of prayer and hope. She experienced in her lifetime both great sorrow and great joy, but she truly believed that, indeed, LIFE IS THE WORD. She loved to quote from the great writers she had studied, and if she were speaking to us today, she would probably want us to think of the words of the great poet of T.S. Eliot:

“In my beginning is my end. In my end is my beginning.”

The following services will be held at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 600 Alhambra Blvd. Sacramento, CA.

Trisagion Thursday, July 1, 2021 at 7 pm.

Funeral Friday, July 2, 2021 at 10 am.

For those wishing to donate in her memory, in lieu of flowers, please consider

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