Teditorial: A word of gratitude for the patriarch of family of friends

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Above, George Demos is pictured with the many of medals he won in dozens of Senior Olympics competitions. Inset is the headline and photo of a story at it ran in the June 13 issue of the Sun News. File photos

Long time Huntington Harbour resident, Dr. George Demos, was a professor, a writer, a U.S. Army veteran and a competitive athlete for most of his life. He passed away on Nov. 4, at the age of 92.

Most of his career was spent at Cal State University, Long Beach as a professor, counselor and Dean of Students. His career began there initially in 1959, when it was still called Long Beach State College. He was appointed to Dean of Students, in part to encourage him to stay at the school rather than enter politics, according to a bio page on the CSULB website.

Demos was the Dean of Students during the time of large student protests against the War in Vietnam, sometimes forcing the campus to close down. That meant he was the one trying to deal with the large groups of student protesters, and discipline them if necessary. He noted in his bio that that part of his career was probably the most challenging.

“Those five years as Dean of Students were some of the hardest but most memorable of my life,” Demos stated in the bio.

Since high school, Demos had competed in track and field. He continued that during his time in the Army, winning the mile event and 880 meters at the 11th Airborne Division meet in Sapporo, Japan. After his time in the Army, he remained in the Reserves and eventually retired as a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and a Professor Emeritus at Cal State Long Beach.

In retirement he continued to compete in Senior Olympic competitions, amassing hundreds of medals in multiple events. According to a report in the Daily Pilot from 2006, he even won a silver medal in a grandchildren-grandparent 100-meter relay with his three grandchildren.

George Demos is pictured with the many of medals he won in dozens of Senior Olympics competitions. File photos

Some of this I knew prior to his passing on Nov. 4, but for the most part, to me, he was simply Steve’s dad, Mr. Demos. When I moved to Huntington Beach in the late ‘70s I became close friends with his youngest son, Steve.

Steve and I had a chance to catch up a bit when he brought his dad’s photo in for the obituary (see page 10). That brought back a flood of memories for me. I had actually spoken with Mr. Demos in 2013, when I got word of one of his recent meets, where he had just won eight gold medals. At the time I was the editor of the News Enterprise, but was able to contact him and wrote up an article that ran in the Sun News. We also talked about the old days.

During our middle school years Steve and I were very close. I spent a lot of time at their home and his family welcomed me warmly. I was invited to sleepovers and weekends in Palm Desert with them. One day, Steve told me his mom and grandma were going to take the boat through the harbor and dock at Captain Jack’s to have a cocktail. And if we wanted to go, he and I could get a “Coke-tail.”

During one weekend in the desert, Steve’s older brother Chris took he and I took a minor-league baseball game, when the Angels still had a farm team out there. After the game, I witnessed what Steve told me was a ritual between him and his brother. They would argue about what they would listen to on the radio during the car ride back to the house.

Steve would simply say, “music.” Chris would reply, “post-game show.”

“Music.”

“Post-game show.”

It would simply repeat like that until they got in the car. I don’t remember what we listened to that day, but as the older brother, I imagine Chris got his way most of the time. These are just a few of the flood of memories that have come back to me recently. And they reminded me to say ‘Thanks Mr. Demos.’ And Rest in Peace.

Ted Apodaca is the editor of the Sun News and Catalina Islander. He can be reached at editor@sunnews.org, or 562-317-1100. Follow him on Instagram: @tedapodaca