Bessie Pappas Grillos, 83, of Modesto, passed away on June 3, 2022, after battling Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
Bessie was born on April 4, 1939, in Hiawatha, Utah, to Nick and Mary Katsavrias, as was active in the Greek Orthodox Church all of her life.
Bessie met husband Pete Pappas at a church dance in Price, Utah. They were married in 1962 and had two (2) sons, Pete Pappas, Jr. and Mike Pappas. Always famous for her cooking, Bessie creating a warm, welcoming home for her family and countless friends. Bessie proved to be a dutiful wife and loving, caring mother.
As a broadcasting professional, Bessie was instrumental in helping husband Pete and his twin brother, Mike Pappas, build, manage and own radio stations in Las Vegas, Tulare and Modesto. Eventually, Pete and Mike, along with brother Harry J. Pappas, built and launched KMPH-TV in the Fresno-Visalia television market. At each location, Bessie was the unsung hero who helped manage the stations in the always-difficult but growing broadcast industry. Eventually, Bessie and Pete settled in Modesto and owned two (2) radio stations, KHOP-FM and KTRB-AM. In 1986, Pete suddenly passed away at almost 49-years old, leaving Bessie a young widow.
In 1998, Bessie married Steve Grillos, a retired CSU Stanislaus professor. They enjoyed travel, spending time with family and friends and serving their church community. Even in her later years, Bessie had a limitless supply of energy and was always active in her church’s Greek Food Festivals. Steve and Bessie shared 22 loving years together until his passing on February 9, 2021. Bessie finished her professional career working for Modesto City Schools and retired in 2011.
Bessie is survived by her sons, Pete Pappas, Jr. and Mike Pappas and his wife Katerina; grandchildren, Panayiota, Manolie and Yianni, all in Denver, CO; brother Gust Katsavrias (Sharon), Price, UT; sister-in-law Noula Pappas, Fresno CA; brother-in-law, Harry J. Pappas (Stella A. Pappas), Reno NV; and many nieces and nephews who all grieve the loss of their beloved Thea Bessie.
Trisagion services were held at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at Salas Brothers Funeral Chapel, 419 Scenic Dr, Modesto, CA 95350.
Funeral services were held at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 313 Tokay Ave., Modesto, CA 95350. Interment at Lakewood Memorial Park, 900 Santa Fe Ave, Hughson, CA 95326.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church.
2 thoughts on “Bessie Pappas Grillos, 83”
Bessie was a wonderful boss, she was at the station every weekday… in 1993-94 KTRB transitioned from AM Country to Spanish talk radio and the staff was small. One day Garth Brooks was king, then in a snap of the finger it was Radio Labio. But it was a great unit with Pete Jr. and Mike, Lorna, Val and Steve – once in awhile Gene D’Accardo would stop by and have a cup of coffee. We often talked about the early days of Modesto radio and Bessie would chime in about Pete and Mike and their experiences from KMOD through KHOP. I learned a great deal about the radio business and I owe debt of gratitude to Mrs. Pappas for hiring a kid with no prior experience. We had a great time at KTRB, I wish I could go back
just for a day! Thanks Bessie!
I have very fond memories of this great lady…she hired me to work at the front desk and as her personal secretary in 1989.
We became very close friends as well and we spent time together outside of our work day at KTRB in 1989. I clearly remember one night (Out of many) that I was spending the night with her, I woke up and hurriedly was getting dressed to go to the office, and she said…”Why are dressing in such a hurry? Relax, you won’t be late, I own the station!”