Georgia Demas Karangelen, known as "Miss George" to diners at George's Lunch, the South Baltimore restaurant she helped run for 61 years, died July 6 of heart failure at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. She was 95 and lived in Riderwood.
Mrs. Karangelen and her husband, George, bought the Light Street restaurant in 1923 for $375. The business stayed open until 1984, serving up such specialties as Coney Island-style hot dogs, fried oysters, sour beef and baked macaroni and cheese.
The restaurant counted among its customers powerful politicians, including U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski and state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer. George's Lunch also served visiting celebrities, including talk show host Oprah Winfrey and baseball Hall of Famer Al Kaline.
But Mrs. Karangelen was equally proud of the restaurant's regulars, said her daughter, Helen K. Morekas. On occasion, four generations of a family would gather at a table for lunch or dinner. And sometimes, Mrs. Karangelen fed those who couldn't make it to the restaurant at her home.
Mrs. Karangelen prepared an elaborate meal each Sunday and would often invite servicemen visiting the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation to join her family for dinner.
"She loved entertaining people," Mrs. Morekas said.
Born in Greece in 1905, Mrs. Karangelen came to Ellis Island with her family the next year. The family lived in Ohio until 1911, then returned to Greece. Her family moved back to the United States in 1920, and Mrs. Karangelen got her first taste of the food business. Her father, Nicholas G. Demas, owned an Ohio confectionery shop.
In Ohio, Georgia Demas was introduced to George Karangelen through mutual friends in the Greek-American community. The two married on July 9, 1921, and moved to his home in Baltimore.
They went into the restaurant business two years later, first living in an apartment above the restaurant until they could afford a home. After her husband's death in 1956, Mrs. Karangelen operated the business with the help of her two children. On the restaurant's 60th anniversary, George's Lunch was honored in a proclamation from the Baltimore City Council.
"They were good people, and they wanted to work so their children could have everything," Mrs. Morekas said.
Mrs. Karangelen was a member of the Cathedral of the Annunciation as well as the Greek American Progressive Association and Philoptochos, a philanthropic women's organization affiliated with the Greek Orthodox church. The church bells in the Greek village where Mrs. Karangelen was born were scheduled to ring yesterday in her memory.
In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Karangelen is survived by a son, James G. Karangelen of Riderwood; and three grandchildren.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, Maryland Avenue and Preston Street.