Paul George Chiames
February 26, 1929 – June 2, 2019
Paul George Chiames died on June 2, 2019. Paul was born on February 26, 1929 in Fresno to James Z. and Effie (nee Kyriakopoulos) Chiames. His parents were immigrants from the Olympia region of the Greek Peloponnese who corresponded by mail after being introduced by mutual friends, traveled to Chicago to meet and get married, and then settled in Fresno. Paul’s father held a number of different jobs to support the family during the Great Depression, including driving a bread delivery truck, running a tavern and operating a soda shop (the family still laughs at the “Ho-Made Candy” sign that hung in the window). Paul grew up in the downtown Fresno neighborhood where the Fresno Community Hospital campus now stands and attended Roosevelt High School where he was a popular student and star athlete on the baseball and basketball teams. He subsequently attended and graduated from Fresno State College and played basketball and baseball for the Bulldogs, was a producer for the radio broadcasts of Bulldog football, was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and was voted outstanding senior of the class of 1951. He then served his country in the U.S. Coast Guard before being honorably discharged and returning to Fresno to begin his career in education. Over almost 40 years with Fresno Unified School District, he taught, coached baseball and basketball, served in counseling and administrative positions, and eventually managed the district’s Office of Psychological Services after securing his master’s degree in psychology from Fresno State. He spent more than a dozen years at Edison High School and made a lasting and positive impression on hundreds of students. Decades after leaving Edison, he still kept in touch with former students, joining them for monthly breakfasts and attending their class reunions. As he moved out of coaching, he remained a familiar face at high school football and basketball games up and down the Valley as a sports official. Paul’s greatest source of pride was his family. He met his wife Anita Bukilica when she worked in the office of Dr. Harry Chambas, where much of the Greek community in Fresno were patients. They were married in 1957 and their family quickly became five with the birth of Chris, Paul and Terese within their first five years of marriage. He was also active in the St. George Greek Orthodox Church community, serving as parish president, playing key roles in the popular Greek Food Festival and chairing the church beautification committee for many years. Paul was also honored as the community’s father of the year and was a lifetime member of the Order of AHEPA. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Anita, son Chris and wife Pennie of Dallas, TX, son Paul of Los Angeles, CA, and daughter Terese and husband John Caire of La Canada, CA. He was the extremely proud and beloved Papou of Christina Chiames, Natalie Chiames, Maria Caire and John Paul Caire and he reminded them regularly that he always knew what they were up to and they know he will continue to watch out for them. He also had a soft spot for his late pal Marcel the wonder dog, as well as Maddie and Nia. Other survivors include his sister Sophia and her husband Jim Nicolaou, brother- and sister-in-law Michael and Lorraine Bukilica, and sister-in-laws Sally Bukilica and Marcia Taylor, all of Fresno, and first cousins Anne Drulias of Bakersfield, and Dena Adamopoulos and Kalliope Manolis of Greece. He is also survived by nieces and nephews in Fresno, Bakersfield, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Greece. As a college student, he visited his mother’s extended family that had emigrated from Greece to the greater Boston area, developing a lifelong relationship with many cousins there; he loved his frequent trips to New England to see them and the sights. Paul and Anita’s home was always a place where family and friends gathered. In turn, dozens of very special people have shown Paul and Anita many kindnesses over the years. At the risk of leaving someone out, the Chiames family will refrain from trying to list them all, but they know who they are, and they know how much they are loved. But they do want to acknowledge Karen Rosander, who along with her husband Dean, has been a combination caregiver, confidant and companion to Paul and Anita for the past three years and has helped make this transition in life safe, dignified and happy. Paul’s family will host a reception for friends and family in the St. George Fellowship Hall on Thursday evening, June 6 from 7:00-9:00 pm. and funeral services will be held on Friday, June 7 at 11:00 am at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 2219 N. Orchard Street, Fresno, CA 93703. The family requests no flowers; remembrances may be made in Paul’s name to the St. George Memorial Fund.
- Funeral Service Friday, June 7, 2019
Paul George Chiames
June 7, 2019
In 1960, as a first year teacher and coach at the then Irwin Junior High, I met Paul who was a teacher, coach at neighboring Edison High. Since we both coached, we had a lot in common. In and about the same time, as members of the San Joaquin Officials Association, we spent time together as high school football officials. Over the years, we found that we shared many mutual friends, including my bother in law Bob Wilson, who like Paul was a school psychologist. We also shared Greek connections as my wife's family is related by marriage to the Fotes and Kapitan families.
Paul was a true friend, and was a man to be admired. Along with many, many others, I will miss Paul's friendship, until we meet again.
My condolences to Anita and the all the family.