PORTIS, Basile “Bill”

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.

This Media Release


  1. Sincere condolences to all the family, Bill was indeed a good friend to everyone that crossed his path and will live in our hearts,you are all in my thoughts and prayers, RIP 😇🙏🙏

  2. Tina, Christina, Ken: our deepest sympathies to learn of Bill’s passing.
    A true gentleman, and excellent chef and the best promoter of Wawa.
    Again, our condolences.

  3. Gislaine Menard-Boulianne

    I am so sorry to hear that Bill passed away. My heart goes out to you all. He was a wonderful man.

  4. Laurie (Robertson) Ouellet

    I am so sorry to hear this. My condolences to Tina, Christina and Kenny and also to the rest of the Portis family.

  5. Our deepest sympathies to you and your family
    Lucie and Albert

  6. I am so sorry to hear about Bill. He touched many people’s lives in Wawa and will be missed.
    My condolences to his family.

  7. Tina, Christina and Kenny, my heartfelt condolences go out to you all. I will always remember Bill for his kind heart and how he was always happy to speak with me when we would come home to Wawa.

  8. Liz Talian-Clarke and Robert Clarke

    Our sincerest condolences to Tina and family! Bill was always at the Embassy Restaurant for as long as we can remember! He always had a wonderful smile and a nod when he saw us in there.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time.
    Liz and Rob Clarke

  9. Rotary Club of Wawa

    On behalf of the Rotary Club of Wawa, please accept our sincerest condolences to Tina and Family! Bill was an amazing person who truly knew how to make you feel special, just like Tina. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Portis Family!

  10. Bernie,Lori Erechook

    Bill and Louie Portis were such a part of our life for so many years. Such wonderful memories. Bill was a wonderful, kind man and will be truly missed. Such a building block of our little town. We send our condolences to TinA, Christina and Kenny. Take care of yourselves.

  11. To Bill’s family my deepest sympathy. Many fine memories of this kind generous man.

  12. Scott Timmermann

    Wawa lost a good man known Bill since i was a youngster,always respected his gardening wisdom and quick wit.Condolences to the family.

  13. I am sorry to hear this. My condolences Tina, Christina & Kenny. He was a wonderful man and will be missed.

  14. My condolences to Tina, Kenny & Christina & families. Bill was a wonderful man and will be missed.

  15. Doreen Millman

    Condolences to all of Bill,s family he always had a smile on his face and will be missed .

  16. Deepest condolences to Christina and the Portis family on Bills passing. Always enjoyed chatting and exchanging some jokes with Bill. He was a kind and witty person. RIP Mr Bill

  17. Deepest condolences to Christina and the Portis family on Bills passing. Always enjoyed chatting and exchanging some jokes with Bill. He was a kind and witty person. RIP Mr Bill

  18. Gerry and Irene Bugyra

    Our condolences to Tina, Christina and Kenny. Wawa lost a great man and friend. God Bless you during this difficult time.

  19. Our condolences to Bills family, Tina, Chritina and Kenny. . Bill was a very kind man with a smile on his face for everyone. .he will be missed in this community.