Theodora Gasparis, who ran the Honey Bee Drive-In Restaurant and later Honey Bee Liquors in Glen Burnie, died July 23 of respiratory complications at Anne Arundel Medical Center. She was 84.
For more than 20 years beginning in 1956, Mrs. Gasparis and her husband ran the drive-in, which featured waitresses on roller skates. "We were the only thing between Baltimore and Annapolis," said a daughter, Parie Willis of Linthicum. "She knew everyone, and everyone knew her."
Born Theodora Paraskeviadis in Istanbul, Turkey, she was one of eight children of Greek parents. Her mother died when she was 12, and she was sent to the United States to be raised by an aunt in New York City.
She met Peter Gasparis there, and the two married shortly before World War II. During the war, he served in the Army in Germany and Holland, and she worked in an New York airplane factory.
After the war, the couple worked in a New York restaurant for several years, then moved to Maryland and opened the Honey Bee.
"She thought Maryland was the boondocks at first," recalled another daughter, Paulette Hardy of Glen Bernie. "She made my father take her back and forth to New York every month."
The family later converted the drive-in into a liquor store. Her husband died in 1978, and Mrs. Gasparis continued to run the store along with Ms. Willis.
In addition to spending time with family, she was an avid gambler. Ms. Willis recalled once having difficulty prying her mother away from Las Vegas.
"She went on a four-day trip to visit some friends," she said. "Then she called to say there was a sandstorm, so she couldn't come back and to send more money."
The four-day trip was extended to two weeks after her mother reported additional barriers to travel: taxi and airline workers had gone on strike. Neither the sandstorm nor the labor strikes could be substantiated.
"With a straight face, she would tell you these things," Ms. Willis recalled, laughing. "She was just as serious as she could be with that sweet Greek face."
Services will be held at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Singleton Funeral Home in Glen Bernie.
Also surviving is a sister, Niki Papadopoulos, who lives in Greece; a brother, Lazarus Paraskeviadis, who lives in Germany; two grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.