Union Democrat staff

Beatrice 'Bea' Bezaitis

June 9, 1930 - July 2, 2013

Sonora resident Beatrice "Bea" Bezaitis died Tuesday at Atria Gardens in Carmichael. She was 83.

Mrs. Bezaitis was born in Malandreni, Greece, one of five children born to Steve and Ange Chapralis.

She immigrated to the United States with her parents and siblings in 1951. They settled in Redwood City, where she attended Sequoia High School at night to learn English while working days. The family earned their U.S. citizenship soon after.

She married Harry Bezaitis on Nov. 7, 1954, in San Francisco.

She trained to be a seamstress as a young girl in Greece, and worked for a shop in the Oakland area in the late 1950s and again after the birth of her first child in 1956.

She and her husband moved from the Bay Area to Tracy before settling in Sonora with their three children in 1968 after purchasing the landmark Europa Coffee Shop. Mrs. Bezaitis made pies and other baked goods for the restaurant.

She and her husband also co-owned the Europa Deli with her brother, Tim Chapralis, and his wife, Toni, in the 1970s. After her husband's death in 1984, Mrs. Bezaitis operated the Europa with her family for five more years.

She worked at AutoZone in the 1990s and was also a volunteer with the Master Gardener program.

Mrs. Bezaitis was a member of Soroptimist International of Sonora, Sonora Emblem Club, Daughters of Penelope Echo No. 4, and the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society.

In addition to her husband, Mrs. Bezaitis was preceded in death by an infant daughter, Mary Ann Bezaitis, in 1958; her father in 1989; her mother in 1999, and her brother, Tom Chapralis, in 2000.

She is survived by her children and their spouses, Angie and Kevin Higgins, of Carmichael, Larry and Brenda Bezaitis, of Sonora, and Vicki and Jeff Gregory, of Centerville, Ohio; grandchildren, Harry Bezaitis, of Sonora, Megan Higgins, of Carmichael, Kristen Bezaitis, of Sonora, Zach Gregory, of Centerville, Emily Higgins, of Carmichael, Ashley, Hayden and Athan Gregory, of Centerville, Malachi Burns and his wife, Tami, of Sonora; her siblings and their spouses, Bill and Vickie Chapralis, of Redwood City, Tim and Antoinette "Toni" Chapralis, of Sacramento, Dena Dimi and her partner, Allen Dunbar, of Daly City; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Donations in her memory can be made to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 600 Alhambra Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95816; or the National Parkinson Foundation, 1501 NW 9th Ave., Miami, FL 33136-1494.

A Trisagion service is planned for 7 p.m. today at Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home, 225 E. Rose St., Sonora. A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Terzich and Wilson, followed by burial at Mountain Shadow Cemetery and a wake at the Sonora Elks Lodge.

Terzich and Wilson Funeral Home is handling arrangements.


FEGAN - Kenneth Fegan, 54, of Jamestown, died Tuesday at his home. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

FOX - Lois Fox, age unknown, of Tuolumne, died Wednesday at home in Tuolumne. Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.