Reseda High School

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George Theodore Popa - S'60
What An Interesting Life
October 1942 - March 2020 
Source - Obituary from Girdner Funeral Chapel - Slightly modified for privacy protection

George Theodore Popa, 77, of Yreka California passed away peacefully of natural causes at his home March 2020.

A live cast Memorial service took place on Saturday, July 11, at 10:00 AM, at Siskiyou Christian Fellowship, 321 N Gold St, Yreka, CA 96097.

In addition, a Zoom Memorial took place on Saturday, July 11, at 12:00 Noon.

George was born in October 1942 in Washington DC to George and Marge Popa. He attended Reseda High School and later Pierce Jr. College in the San Fernando Valley, in Los Angeles, California.

He joined the Navy in 1964 and served during the Vietnam War aboard the USS Constellation aircraft carrier as an electronics technician. George loved to tell the story of the time he broke up a bar fight while on shore patrol in Olongapo City in the Philippines. He tried to take his club out of the loop in his belt, but it was stuck, so took off his belt and held up the club in warning. At this point his pants fell down. Everyone in the bar started laughing, and the fight was over.

When George returned to civilian duty, he went to work in the Silicon Valley and worked for over 20 years as a semiconductor engineer supporting the aerospace industry, contributing at such companies as Fairchild, National Semiconductor, Advanced Micro Devices and Omni Technology. When he retired from engineering, he worked as a home inspector for Property and Casualty Surveys.

George was also an internationally known wire sculptor whose “three-dimensional sketches” of boats, airplanes and nature were displayed at Don Conard Mobiles in San Francisco during the 1970’s, and later at Ashland Artworks in Ashland, Oregon, and Shoppe Serendipity in Yreka, California. His largest work is a six-foot shark that hangs over the seating area at Zephyr Books in Yreka.

George’s sculptures were a natural extension of his lifelong love of flying model airplanes which he first began to craft as a young boy from patterns he found in his Book of Knowledge Children’s Encyclopedia. As he progressed in the design and creation of model aircraft, he said once, “I learned that ugly airplanes don't fly well - an important lesson in the relation of elegance to function which accounts for the beauty found in nature and in the best of technology.”

George was an avid driver, who in the 1970’s raced his restored AC Bristol in the Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California. In the 1990’s he judged restored classic cars at the Pebble Beach Concourse D’Elegance. In the 2000’s he taught driving skills at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, California.

George loved music of many kinds, having grown up in a musical family – his father was a Big Band era musician and arranger who also led Dixieland and traditional Romanian bands, and his mother was a music copyist.
At one point in his very young life while his parents toured with the Andrews Sisters, Laverne Andrews brought baby George on stage to use as a prop while she and her sisters sang the song, “Baby Face.” The lights were warm, and the diaper was cloth, and the stage prop left a wet spot down Laverne’s dress.

George met Kathleen Conner (Katy) at an art festival in Boulder City, Nevada in 1982.They talked for less than five minutes, but both walked away thinking they had just met their future spouse. They were married at the Christian Center in Boulder City on January 19, 1985. Together they raised the two joys of their lives, Noah and Alex Popa. Their marriage lasted 35 wonderful years.

He will be remembered for his sense of fun, the wonderful music he blasted from his garage for the neighborhood and played for anyone who stopped by.

Mostly he will be remembered for his warmth, his unabashed love for his family and his many friends. This love was born of a deep faith in Jesus Christ which began with a conversation with his son’s preschool teacher in 1982 and grew with every passing year. Together, he and Katy attended Calvary Church in Los Gatos California, Bethel Assembly of God in Yreka, and Siskiyou Christian Fellowship in Yreka.

George is survived by: his wife, Katy Popa; his son Noah Popa with his wife Julia and his grandchildren, Maya and Cooper; his son Alex Popa with his wife Krista; his sister and brother-in-law Margie and Richard Surber of Sacamento Calfornia, his sister and brother-in-law Nora and Ti Greene of Hendeson Nevada, his sister Gina Kowalewsky of West Hills Califoria, his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Irene and Roy Spaulding, and many other much-loved family members and friends.

He is preceded in death by his father, George Popa, his mother, Marge Popa, and his sister, Olivia Bose.
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