Obituary: Steve C. “Tom” Maneotis
– December 25, 2021
Steve C. Maneotis, also known to many as Tom, passed away in the early morning of December 25, 2021 at his home in Craig, Co at the age of 87. He was also known to many as Papou and he carried that title with great pride. He was a father, son, brother, veteran, firefighter, businessman papou and great papou and a man that many leaned on for guidance, a kick in the pants, or a good laugh.
Born in Oak Creek Colorado in 1934 his mother Irene passed away giving birth. He and his father Chris returned to Greece where his father remarried Mary Maneotis and the family was blessed with two brothers: George and Andy. The family was stuck in Greece during WWII and they endured very tough times and experienced things that most have only read about. The Family was fortunate to return to Colorado in March of 1946 and his dad purchased their sheep business. But, Shortly after returning, Chris was killed in a car accident. The family sheep business was lost and you might say this was when the Lord set his path towards becoming a Car dealer! At 13 years old dad became the man of the household in a sense. He spoke of sacking groceries at the old Safeway as a 7th grader to help out as well as other Oddball jobs.
He met the love of his life in High School and married Dedra Ann Higgins in 1955, 60 days after their marriage he was drafted into the Army, sent to Fort Carson for training, and then deployed to Korea where he served 18 months in the war. The first of 4 Children, Irene, was born while he was deployed. In the years to come they had 3 more boys; Chris, Steve, and Tony Maneotis. Upon his return from Korea Steve worked at several places, filling stations, carpentry work, Craig Steel and Salvage, Bill Super Market, and then he opened his own small produce store. It was a difficult time and the store was struggling when a man by the name of Floyd Reid approached dad and asked him if he could sell cars? In 1963 he began his career in the automotive business. He progressed from salesman to the position of General Manager for Larry Cook. He founded Victory Motors with his brother-in-law Ron Higgins in April of 1975 and later became sole owner of the company. They started where Cook Ford is currently located on Victory way. The street was the origination of our company name of Victory Motors. In April of 1980, the new dealership was built at our current location.
His career path serves as inspiration. There were failures along the way and Steve had to start over many times. Let alone the loss of his mother at birth, the War, then the loss of a father, and the setbacks of many attempts to try and support his family, he never quit. He never relied on handouts, he persevered and found the path to care for his family and built a business that he was so proud of to his last days here.
Steve was a man of high character. He once told me as I was leaving to start my career path. “The day you have to lie to make a buck is the day you better get out. Be good to people and they will repay you tenfold.” He loved people, he loved helping, he was a man you could go to for advice and many did. You may not always like what he told you but he was black and white. There was never a doubt where he stood. He loved his Church and the Lord was his guide. If you ran into Papou you were going to get a heart-felt hug and kiss followed up many times by a Joke. He was highly respected in the automotive industry and served on many Dealer Councils during his tenure as dealer principal. There were many times the factory would call and ask for his feedback on the performance of their products and used his feedback to improve the design accordingly. He was proud of his Greek Heritage and if it were ever challenged, be prepared for a tongue lashing at the very least, sometimes more! One of his favorite sayings during his last days was, “If I’m not here to see you tomorrow then Hello.”
Ask any of the 4 children, 10 grandchildren, or 8 great grand children and you will hear the stories of love, advice, financial help, or good tongue lashing that they got from Papou. Irene, Chris, Steve, and Tony would all tell you they wouldn’t be where they are today if not for the love, perseverance, guidance, and hard work of Steve.
His hobbies included hunting, fishing, camping with family, and friends-especially the memorable days on the property at Hahn’s Peak, woodworking later in life making tables and lamps for the family, and nearly cutting off a few fingers more than once! Every year he looked forward to Christmas in his home with all the family and then the treasured Church new years parties with family and all his friends. I don’t think he ever caught a fish that he would throw back and he would nearly fall over if you did return a fish. At 80 years old he harvested his dream trophy elk which was the icing on the cake for the many hunting and fishing stories he loved to share.
Steve was preceded in death by his loving mother Irene C Maneotis, Father-Christos S. Maneotis, stepmother Mary Maneotis who were all laid to rest in Salt Lake City. As well as many loving members of the church and community that played a part in his upbringing and other family members in Greece.
He is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Dedra Maneotis. Daughter – Irene Kitzman, her husband Brian Kitzman. Grandson Kyle Kitzman his wife Trina. Grandson Andy Kitzman, wife Alanna, great-grandchildren Tanner and Amelia. Son Chris Maneotis, his wife Peggy, grandchildren Dale Lyons and partner Jimmy, and great grandchild Story Watsabaugh. Granddaughter Chandra Henderson, her husband Austin, great-grandchildren Aria and Kaylie. Steve Maneotis and fiancé Cheyna, Samantha Medlin, and husband Justin, great-grandchild Jameson. Son – Steve Maneotis his wife Teresa, grandchildren Jordan Maneotis her wife Brittney Shurden, Christos Maneotis, Casey Doolin and great-grandchildren Madison and Lilly, Jesse Doolin his wife Kaci, great-grandchildren Eric and Brody, and grandson Colton Doolin. Son – Tony Maneotis his wife Kim, grandchildren Mathew Maneotis his wife Erin, Mackenzie Mixon, and great-grandchildren Easton and Braxton. If you asked most of the family they were usually greeted with some type of nickname ranging from Bean, Flieg, Eastony, Paximathe and so many more.
Steve never really let on about all his health complications and cared more about others more than himself. He completed his life the way he wanted. Active coming and going to the dealership, church, and around town. Passing at home quietly in the night.
Papou, zuise e mas. May your memory be eternal. We love you.
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