It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our dear husband, father, brother, uncle, pops and friend. Basile (Bill) left this world peacefully on Saturday, July 4th , 2020 with his family by his side at the age of 91. Basile was the loving husband of Fotena (Tina) for 56 years. He was also the loving and cherished father of Christina (Marc Gagnon) and Kenny. Pops to Stephan Gagnon (Marie-France). Predeceased by his parents Christos and Fotena Portis. Dear brother of the late Sophia Panousopoulos (late Ken), the late Koula Georgakopoulos (late John), Leonidas Port (Toula), the late Thomas Portis (Athena), and Aristotle Portis (Barbara). Brother-in-law of the late Kosmas Bekiares (late Eleni), the late Andreas Vekiari (Jeni), the late Alkis C. Bekiares (Olga), the late Loukia Hasapis (late Nick), and the late Konstantino Bekiares. He will be fondly remembered by many nieces and nephews in Canada, the United States, England, Austria and in Greece.
Born in Pentalofos, Greece on October 16th, 1928; Bill came to Canada on February 15th, 1957 for a better life. He started working in Thunder Bay (Great Lakes Paper Mill) during the bitter winter, and often tells family and friends that he was ready to move back to Greece after getting frostbite. Bill later started working in a restaurant and this is where he found his true talent, cooking. Bill returned to Pentalofos, Greece in 1964 to marry his love, Fotena.
Together they moved back to Thunder Bay to start their adventure together. At one point the Port brothers along with the Metsopoulos and Panousopoulos families, ran three restaurants one in Thunder Bay (the Embassy), one in Nipigon (the Shell) and one in Wawa (the Embassy). When children came, it was easier to run only one restaurant. So, life in Wawa it was…
Bill loved his job, he loved his community of Wawa and he loved all the people that he met while co-running the Embassy Restaurant for 31 years. He taught us all what a great work ethic was. Even in retirement you would often see him going for coffee just in case he ran into the many American tourists who still travelled to their favourite fishing holes and, he also loved all his Wawa friends. Bill loved to talk and tell stories over a cup of coffee and sometimes would brag about his Leafs beating the Canadians. He was known for his great coleslaw, bean soup, liver, veal cutlets, prime rib and for his amazing memory, he never needed a bill for all his orders. We’ve often been told that Bill was the best boss ever. His staff was always considered his extended family. When not working, Bill was passionate about his greenhouse and flower gardens.
There are not enough words to describe Bill’s love for his family and friends. He had such a generous heart, always kind and giving, and he never expected anything in return. You meant the world to him. And, he truly was our hero and our rock.
Words cannot express our sincere thanks to all the staff at the Lady Dunn Health Center. Your kindness, compassion, professionalism and daily chats made this difficult journey so much easier. A heartful thanks to Dr. Stamler and Troy Dereski for your excellent support and care for Bill. We would also like to thank Dr. Voutsadakis and Dr. Carlson from the Sault Area Hospital.
Thank You to Valerie at the Kerry Funeral Home for your guidance, compassion and professionalism. Our community is lucky to have you.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Lady Dunn Health Center would be appreciated by the family. Or raise a glass, have a cup of coffee, gather with family and friends for a meal, tell a great story, plant or weed your garden. Remember him by doing something he loved to do. Bill will be smiling down on our family and you.
Due to Covid-19, a small private family service will be held at the Kerry Funeral Home Ltd. in Wawa on Wednesday, July 8th with Mrs. Lorna Chiupka officiating . Internment will take place at the Woodland Cemetery in Wawa. A memorial service will also be held by the Bekiares families in Pentalofos, Greece at a later date.
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