PORTIS, Fotena ‘Tina’ nee Bekiares

It is with broken hearts that we announce the sudden and unexpected passing of our dear Mother, Thia (Auntie), our fashionista, and our beautiful, classy mom, and friend. Fotena left this world peacefully at home on Saturday, March 19th, 2022 with her children by her side. Fotena is reunited with her loving husband Basile “Bill”. She was also the loving and proud mother of both Christina (Marc Gagnon), and Kenny. Tina to Stephan Gagnon (Marie-France). Predeceased by her parents Christopher and Stamatia Bekiares and her in-laws Christos and Fotena Portis. Dear sister 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. Dear sister-in-law to the late Sophia Panousopoulos (late Ken), the late Koula Georgakopoulos (late John), Leonidas Port (Toula), the late Thomas Portis (Athena), and Aristotle Portis (Barbara). She also leaves behind her adored nieces and nephews in Canada, the United States, Austria, and Greece.

 

Born in Pentalofos, Kozani, Greece on March 27th, 1946, Tina was a constant dreamer – she dreamed of leaving the village for the big city, of becoming a seamstress, going to the movies, shopping, going dancing. She had an undoubtable fashion sense which she always claimed came from her father and brother Andreas.

 

On Sunday, May 3rd, 1964, and at the young age of 18, Fotena married Basile in their hometown of Pentalofos. Shortly after, on July 4th, 1964, they moved to Thunder Bay, Ontario. This is how the dream began… the Port brothers along with the Metsopoulos and Panousopoulos families began running three very successful restaurants one in Thunder Bay (the Embassy), one in Nipigon (the Shell), and one in Wawa (the Embassy). It was here where Tina began her career in the hospitality industry, working long hard days, learning English on the job and often with us, her children in tow. We can hear her now telling us it wasn’t easy at first. But, like most European families, the dream also involved a strong work ethic, not for them but for their children and to support all their families back home.

 

Anyone that knew Tina, understood that she loved her job, working an outstanding 55 years being your waitress. She loved serving her community and the many tourists that walked through the doors of the Embassy, what a great ambassador she was for Wawa. Tina was so honoured to receive the Paul Harris Fellow Recognition through the Rotary Club of Wawa. It was something she didn’t brag about but cherished dearly. Tina loved her family, she loved her work families over the many years, and she undoubtedly loved making so many meaningful friendships over the course of her lifetime with people from all over the world.

 

If Tina was part of your life, she truly loved her time and conversations with you whether it was through a phone call, a coffee, or a conversation uptown, she kept in touch with everyone. We know our mom will always hold a special place not only in our hearts but in yours as well. That is her legacy and the end of her well-lived out dream.

 

Visitation will be held at the Kerry Funeral Home Ltd., in Wawa, Ontario (www.kerryfuneralhome.ca) on Saturday, March 26th from 11 am to 2 pm. A private family service will be held at 2 p.m. with Mrs. Lorna Chiupka officiating. Spring interment will take place at the Woodland Cemetery in Wawa, at a later date.

Words cannot express our sincere thanks to the Algoma EMS, the Superior East OPP, and Dr. Vicky Coccimiglio for your kindness and compassion during this difficult time.

 

Thank You to Tyler and Valerie at the Kerry Funeral Home for your guidance, compassion, and professionalism.

 

To our friends and family who were there for us in an instant, or through phone calls, there are no words – we are so fortunate that our parents choose to call Wawa home.

 

In lieu of flowers, make yourself feel good, dress up, smile, gather for lunch or coffee with family and friends, buy the shoes, take the trip and be kind to one another.

 

Mom (and Dad) now more than ever – mou leípeis.

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8 comments

  1. Omg, Christina & Kenny I am so sorry to hear this sad news. Your mom was such a beautiful lady.
    I will miss her smile and conversations. Wawa has lost another icon and will be missed.
    My thoughts and prayers for the family.

  2. So sorry to hear of Tina’s passing. She was a beautiful lady. Betty Robertson

  3. Bruce & Debbie Banks

    Christina and Kenny we are so sorry for the loss of your Mom. she was an amazing lady who will be missed by everyone. May you find comfort in your memories.

  4. Christina and Kenny, we are in shock to hear the loss of Mom. Wawa has lost a Beautiful Lady in every way. Tina’s kindness, love for life and others, her beautiful smile, the hugs she would give us when we came home will be so missed. God Bless you and the family during this most difficult time. Now reunited with Bill, may Tina Rest In Peace for all eternity until we all meet again.

    Gerry and Irene Bugyra

  5. My deepest condolences to you and your family. Tina was a real gem!

  6. Caitlin VanDuzer

    I am so very sorry for your loss and sad to hear of Tina’s passing.

    I am not sure if we ever met before, but I am Austra Jurkjan’s great-grand daughter, and have visited Wawa many, many times when I was little. The last time I was in Wawa was in August 2020 – it was one of our pit stop during a cross-country trip from Victoria BC to Ottawa. I stopped into the Embassy for dinner, as it was always one of my favourite places to visit in Wawa when I was growing up. I struck up a conversation with the waitress, who looked at me quizzically, told me I looked familiar and asked me if I had ever been to Wawa before. As soon as she learned who I was, she dropped everything she was holding and gave me the biggest hug EVER. I couldn’t believe that she recognized me after all those years, and I will never forget that interaction. We had the most lovely conversation and it was wonderful to run into someone familiar, even if I didn’t recognize her at first.

    Tina was such a wonderful, warm person who was an incredible ambassador to Wawa. I will always remember her.

  7. A huge loss for the town of Wawa – lots of memories of Friday suppers at the Embassy sitting outside the kitchen at Scotty’s special table with the boys
    Watching Bill & Tina work together was a true example of a beautiful couple
    The last time our paths crossed was at Agawa Crafts with Bill on his way to bring Tina to the airport for a trip to Greece & me on my way to Wawa to see my dad & as usual I got a big hug & kiss & just enough time for a fast catch-up conversation
    A beautiful woman inside & out whose infectious smile radiated love & made everyone’s day a little brighter
    Memories keep those we love in our hearts forever

    Judy Scott & Jack Aitkenhead 💜

  8. Bernie and Lori Erechook

    We were so saddened to hear of Tina’s (Mom’s) passing. Our condolences to Christina and Kenny. It is so difficult to imagine that her bright spirit has dimmed. We will miss her smile and kind words when passing on Broadway. So many memories of the Embassy over the years. Rotary lunches for Bernie and Tina serving us the famous liver and onions with a beaming smile. Did she ever get tired? You never would have known. Always beautiful and perfectly dressed. What a sight. Her soul will live on in her family and she won’t be forgotten. Yes, make every day count and bless every moment