Peter A. Palaigos, former owner of the popular Pete's Place pool hall in Annapolis, died Monday of Parkinson's disease at his Annapolis home. He was 84.
Mr. Palaigos' establishment started out as Brunswick Billiards but became widely known as Pete's Place during the 40 years he ran it at 163 Main St.
In a 2000 article in The Sun, former patrons recalled a diverse clientele of local teenagers, lawyers and midshipmen who enjoyed games of pool and kosher hot dogs. Mr. Palaigos turned it into a restaurant in 1987 and leased it to new management seven years later, but fans held several reunions to remember the hangout it once was.
Mr. Palaigos, whose parents were born in Greece, was born and raised in the Bronx, N.Y., and graduated from Stuyvesant High School.
He joined the Army and served as an infantryman in World War II, in campaigns in Europe, Africa and Italy. He participated in the D-Day invasion of France and earned a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and a good-conduct medal before being discharged with the rank of sergeant.
He moved to Washington after the war and worked in a cousin's restaurant. On a trip to Annapolis, he met Helen Pappas through mutual friends. The two were married in June 1948 and raised three children.
Mrs. Palaigos' father wanted to retire from the pool hall he had owned since 1919 with his cousin and asked his daughter's fiance to take over.
Mr. Palaigos only knew the restaurant business, his wife recalled, "but he said, 'I'll try it.' "
Mr. Palaigos said in the 2000 Sun article that when he started out, Annapolis' main street "was all mom-and-pop shops. It was quite a sleepy little town." He said Mrs. Palaigos opened the doors at 9 a.m. and closed down the hall at midnight.
In a Sun interview in 1991, he noted that he was among the last of a generation of Greek-Americans who once ran Annapolis restaurants.
He also said that over 40 years, his establishment drew many local youths, including ones from St. Mary's High School who would run out the back door when the nuns came looking for them. The "kids" would drop by on visits home from college, Mr. Palaigos said. "We knew each one of them. It was like family."
The Palaigoses turned Pete's Place into an upscale sports bar and restaurant in 1987. Seven years later, they retired and leased the space to the owner of the Acme Bar and Grill.
Mr. Palaigos was active in the Ss. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Annapolis, serving at one time as its president.
He also sponsored many local amateur sports teams through his business.
"He would do anything for anyone," Mrs. Palaigos said. "Any friend that needed help. He was one of a kind."
His funeral was held Friday.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Melanie P. Brock of Annapolis and Effie P. Reed of Kilgore, Texas; a son, Anthony P. Palaigos of Catonsville; a sister, Stella Gianas of Austin, Texas; a brother, Louis Palaigos of Orlando, Fla.; and five grandchildren.