STOCKTON – George Gus Spanos, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend to all, passed away on December 29, 2018 at the age of 94, surrounded by his family. George was born and raised in Stockton, California where he spent most of his adult life. He lived the last four years in Walnut Creek, California, where he and his wife, Mary Boonos Spanos, moved to be near their grandchildren. He was Alex Spanos’ brother.
Born September 21, 1924, George Gus Spanos was one of six children raised by Evanthia and Constantino “Gus” Spanos, pioneer Greek immigrants who came to this country in the early 1900s to pursue the “American Dream”. Waking up at dawn and working at his father’s bakery every morning before school and selling newspapers on street corners through the Great Depression, George and his brothers at an early age experienced the entrepreneurial drive of their father while learning the importance of hard work, education, and discipline.
George enlisted in the Navy during World War II, defending his country as part of the “Greatest Generation”. He was a naval officer and flight navigator as well as a champion “light-weight” wrestler. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and the College of the Pacific, and received his law degree from Hastings College of the Law in 1949.
George returned to Stockton, eventually setting up his own private law practice in partnership with Harvey Hakeem and later with Harvey’s son Michael. George provided early legal assistance to his brother Alex’s growing business and eventually left private practice to join his brother full time as General Counsel for his rapidly growing real estate development company, A.G. Spanos Construction, which eventually became the largest apartment builder in the nation.
It was in 1955 that George met his partner for life, Mary Boonos. Although their families knew each other for many years, George and Mary did not meet until they both attended an AHEPA dance in Modesto, where Mary grew up. They married in 1956 and created a loving partnership that lasted for 62 years.
George was active in the Stockton community. He was a 32nd degree Mason and a member of the Stockton Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs. He was actively involved at Saint Basil’s Greek Orthodox Church and a member of the Order of AHEPA. He had a passion for gardening and played racquetball for more than 50 years, well into his 80s. A “lefty” and force to be reckoned with on court, he twice won the San Joaquin County Open Racquetball Championship. Additionally, George was an avid Los Angeles Chargers football fan.
George was a student of history and taught his family the importance of their Greek heritage. He was a man of limitless love, genuine kindness, and compassion, strength and integrity, humility and gentleness, loyalty and faith. He encouraged his children and grandchildren to follow their dreams and to venture out into the world, providing his love, support and guidance along the way.
George is survived by his loving wife, Mary; his three children Evanthia (Steven Austin) of Orinda, Andrea (Luigi Ottieri) of Santa Barbara, and Gus (Martha) of Alamo; grandchildren Ariana and Helena Austin, Alejandro and George Spanos; step-grandchildren Mia, Tim, Luisa, Bobby and Mia Catherine; sisters Stella Graham and Madeline Madsen; and countless nieces and nephews. George’s death closely follows the recent passing two months ago of his brother Alex, and earlier of brothers Danny and Leo. The family wishes to thank George’s caregivers who provided loving and devoted care over the last few months and years of his life: Mercedes Hape, Evelyn Brody, Mimi Voltaire, Edward Manolo, Cooky and Frederick.
George lived a selfless life giving to his family, colleagues, community, church and friends. His wise counsel, infectious smile, mischievous sense of humor, and twinkling blue eyes will be missed.