Rev. Father Fred George Fotion
December 15, 1929 – July 9, 2017

It is with sadness but with hope in the Resurrection that we announce the passing of Rev. Father Fred Fotion, who fell asleep in the Lord on July 9, 2017. Father Fred served the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese for 62 years and leaves a legacy of devotion, faithfulness and well-deserved respect.

“Father Fred was inspired from a young age to serve the Lord, and he followed this calling throughout his life, always desiring to teach and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to motivate his flock in their spiritual development,” stated His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco. “Though there is sadness in our hearts as he has left us in an earthly sense, we find joy and comfort knowing that he has earned his reward of everlasting life in heaven with the Lord whom he so faithfully served.”

Father Fred was born on December 15, 1929 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to George and Anezina (Anna) Fotion. His parents had immigrated from Platanos, Samos, Greece to start a new life and begin a family in the United States where they raised their two sons, Nicholas and Fred. They were a family devoted to prayer and worship, and were very involved in the local parish of Saint John the Baptist in Cedar Rapids.

Father Fred enrolled in the seminary in 1948 when it was still located in Pomfret, Connecticut, transitioning upon the opening of Holy Cross from where he graduated in 1952. Following completion of his studies, he became a pastoral assistant at parishes in Charleston, South Carolina; San Francisco, California; and Toledo, Ohio, all the while searching for a young woman with whom to share his life. He found his true love right in his hometown in Iowa, marrying Nika Panos on July 3, 1955. They would celebrate their 62nd wedding anniversary just days before his passing. 

During his long and distinguished ministry, Father Fred served the communities of Assumption in Bayard, Nebraska; Saint Dionysios in Kansas City, Kansas; and Saint Katherine in Redondo Beach, California. Following 25 years of inspirational leadership at Saint Katherine, Father Fred and Presvytera Nika relocated to Kansas City where he served the Metropolis of Denver for ten years in retirement, providing Liturgical services for parishes, especially during Holy Week. The Fotion’s returned to Redondo Beach 14 years ago, where Father Fred continued to participate in the Liturgical life of the church as his health allowed up until the time of his passing.

Highlights of Father Fred’s ministry include his participation on a radio program, “Religion on the Line” where he would answer questions from callers. He was a chaplain to Orthodox students at Kansas University, and at the Federal and State Penitentiaries in Leavenworth, Kansas. Father Fred also elevated the role of women in the parish, encouraging them to take on leadership roles on the Parish Council, and also serve as Readers during the Divine Services. While he retained strong ties to the use of the Greek language, he also integrated the use of English into the Liturgy to allow for a deeper understanding and involvement in the services. The parish of Saint Katherine expanded five-fold to over 450 families under Father Fred’s steadfast leadership, and he was instrumental in the expansion of the facilities and many ministries offered by the community.

Father Fred is survived by Presvytera Nika, his sons George and David, four grandchildren, his brother, Nicholas and many extended family members. It was a special joy for Father Fred to lead his godson, Father Athanasios Felactu, around the Altar for his ordination to the Holy Diaconate at Saint Katherine in Redondo Beach on April 30, 2017. This was a proud moment for Father Fred to see the continuation of the lineage of service to Christ passed from godfather to godson.

Services for Father Fred will be held at Saint Katherine Greek Orthodox Church, 722 Knob Hill Avenue, Redondo Beach, CA 90277. The Trisagion will be prayed on Friday, July 21 at 7:00 p.m. His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos will preside at the funeral on Saturday, July 22 at 11:00 a.m., with Orthros at 8:30 a.m. and Divine Liturgy at 9:30 a.m. Following the Interment at Green Hills Memorial Park, 27501 S. Western Avenue, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275, a traditional Makaria will be offered at the Saint Katherine Community Center.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Saint Katherine Greek Orthodox Church, 722 Knob Hill Avenue, Redondo Beach, CA 90277; or Saint John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, 501 “A” Avenue NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401.

May his memory be eternal!