February 11 1926 - May 10, 2021
Music filled the life of Bill Bobolis -- his teaching profession, his Church, his family, and social life. Born in Ogden, Utah his parents emigrated from Corinth, Greece. This 13 lb. infant born at home, lived a rich, full life of 95 years bringing joy and inspiration to all who knew and loved him.
As a child, he participated in school band, orchestra and choir and continued his musical path receiving his Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from the University of Utah, and his Master's Degree in Voice from California State University, Sacramento. He taught choral music for 35 years in Utah and Sacramento High School, directed the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church Choir for 55 years and performed in hundreds of musical performances throughout his life.
He shared his passion for music and his dedication to his Greek Orthodox faith with his loving wife, Evelyn, for 67 years. Bill and Evelyn met at the University of Utah both Music majors. This harmonious duo married in 1953 in Salt Lake City, Utah in a "Big Fat Greek Wedding". They were blessed with a trio of daughters, Stephanie, Kristie and Jamie and a duet of granddaughters, Diana and Mary Evelyn.
As part of the greatest generation, Bill served in General Patton's Army during WWII, 97th Infantry Division, 303 Infantry Regiment - Charlie Company. It was difficult for his mother to see her only surviving son leave the day after he graduated from Ogden High School to become a soldier in the Army. When sent to Japan for Occupation duty, he auditioned for the 97th Division Trident chorus in Tokyo, and performed a weekly program from the famous Tokyo Rose studio.
After returning from the War he benefited from the GI bill, and attended Weber Jr. College. There he performed as the baritone in a professional quartet called the "Lettermen" long before the famous Lettermen group. They sang popular songs as well as barbershop style and had a weekly program that was featured on the first TV station in the State of Utah.
As an educator, Bill taught in Utah for ten years at Valley Jr. High School in Ogden, Brockbank Jr. High School in Magna, Central Jr. High in Layton, and Granite High School in Salt Lake City. As a performer, he was active in the Utah Opera directed by Carlos Alexander and attended workshops conducted by Lara Hoggard and Roger Wagner. In 1963, he moved his family to Sacramento where he taught music at Sacramento High School for 25 years, and was a founder of the Visual and Performing Arts Program. His show choir, the Sac High Starmakers, performed at the World's Fair in Vancouver, Canada in 1986.
Upon retiring in 1988, Bill's career continued as a baritone soloist in the Sacramento area, appearing in operas, oratorios, solo recitals and many operatic roles: Papageno (Magic Flute), Marullo (Rigoletto), Count Almaviva (Marriage of Figaro), Dr. Faulke (Die Fledermaus), Melchior (Amahl and the Night Visitors), Alfio (Cavallaria Rusticana), the title role in Puccini's opera, Gianni Schicchi and the premiere performance of La Boheme as Schaunard in 1982, directed by his brother-in law, playwright Dr. Gerard A. Larson, who served as chairman of the Theatre Arts Department at CSUS.
Since 1964, Bill has directed the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church Choir of Sacramento. His dear wife Evelyn, his musical soulmate, participated as organist and his trio of sopranos daughters, Stephanie, Kristie and Jamie have sung in the choir. Bill's beloved Annunciation Choir was a second family. Like a family, they shared each other's joys and sorrows. Bill felt blessed to have such a loyal and dedicated group who sacrificed their time, effort and energy. Under Bill's direction, his choir was recognized as one of the outstanding choirs in the Western States. Under Bill's chairmanship, the 50th Anniversary of the founding of our Choir Federation was commemorated in Sacramento.
Bill's dedication awarded him with a repertoire of honors. He was honored by the Greek Archdiocese with the St. Paul medal for the dedicated service, the St. Andrew medal for Outstanding Contributions in Music and the Patriarch Athenagoras Distinguished Service Award, the St. Romanos award presented by the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Musicians and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Greek Orthodox parish for his many years of dedicated service to the Church and community.
In 2003, he received the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco Folk Dance and Choral Festival (FDF) Hall of Fame Award for his dedication to the choral competition and he was honored by the Music Federation with a beautiful hand-painted Melodist Icon of St. John of Damascus and St. Cosmas.
Bill was a member of the American Choral Directors Association, California Music Educators, California Retired Teachers Association, Saturday Club, San Francisco Diocese Music Federation, American-Hellenic Professional Society and American Hellenic Education Progressive Association (AHEPA). The order of AHEPA Sacramento Chapter 153 awarded Bill with a lifetime achievement plaque for his dedication to this Greek organization for 75 years, which he was honored to receive.
Bill's greatest role was that of a devoted husband, and cherished father and Papou (grandfather in Greek). Bill's great good-natured, joyful and optimistic personality always kept his beat going and singing a happy tune. His continuous commitment and dedication was to preserve the excellence of our beautiful Orthodox traditions with its glorious treasure of music.
Bill is survived by his beloved wife Evelyn and daughters, Stephanie, Kristie (Charles McDonnell), and Jamie and granddaughters Diana and Mary McDonnell, sister Georgia (Bobolis) Larson and nephews Larry Mahlis (Megumi), Jimmy Mahlis and niece Kristen Mahlis (Don Miller) with daughters Eleni and Ingelise and cousins in Corinth, Greece. Bill is preceded in death by his infant brother Christos, his sisters Helen (George Mahlis), Sylvia (Larry Lee) and his parents, James C. and Helen Bobolis.
Funeral Services were held at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 600 Alhambra Blvd., Sacramento, CA on May 17th, 2021.
May His Memory Be Eternal!