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Anna P. Alexis, homemaker and beloved substitute teacher, dies

Anna P. Alexis, homemaker and beloved substitute teacher, dies
Anna P. Alexis was a substitute teacher in Baltimore schools for nearly 50 years. (HANDOUT)

Anna P. Alexis, a homemaker who was also a beloved city public schools substitute teacher, died July 9 from congestive heart failure at the Gilchrist Center in Towson. The Lake Walker resident was 93.

“She was the best. The students loved her, and she was always in demand by the other teachers,” said Helen Durr, who retired in 2003 from Polytechnic Institute, where she was librarian. “She was always a very special person to me and just a wonderful person.”

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The former Anna Pergantis, the daughter of Nick Pergantis and his wife, Athena Pergantis, Greek immigrants, was born in Erie, Pa., and moved with her parents in 1927 to Baltimore.

Mrs. Alexis was raised on Ridgely Street in Southwest Baltimore, where her parents owned and operated a lunchroom. She was a 1944 graduate of Southern High School and two years later married James Alexis, who owned Wolf’s Tavern on Greenmount Avenue.

The couple settled into their home on East Lake Avenue in the city’s Lake Walker neighborhood, where they raised their three children.

Mrs. Alexis began her nearly 50-year career as a substitute teacher in 1963 at Leith Walk Elementary School. In 1969 she became a substitute at the old Northern High School on Pinewood Avenue. In 1989 she began substitute teaching at Polytechnic Institute.

She was known as “Mrs. A” family members said.

“When I got to Poly, I asked her to come over and join us and she did,” Mrs. Durr recalled. “As a substitute, she was strict and kept the kids in line, but they always asked for her. She was such an outgoing and friendly person.”

“Beloved by so many students, she couldn’t go anywhere — grocery store, restaurant , etc. — without a former student calling out to her, and coming over and reminiscing,” her daughter, Niki Alexis, wrote in a biographical profile of her mother.

“My mother loved being around students and forged strong relationships with them. She was always accessible and caring,” Ms. Alexis, who lived with her mother, said in a telephone interview. “She always wanted to make sure that they had a good day. She was just so dedicated to those kids and could connect with them.”

Ms. Alexis said her mother also enjoyed a wonderful and easygoing camaraderie with faculty members.

“There were teachers from the 1970s and 1980s that she had worked with who came to her viewing Sunday,” her daughter said.

Mrs. Alexis was 86 when she retired from Poly in 2012.

“And she missed it until the day she died,” her daughter said.

“She had been committed to the city school system and was a true believer in it and wanted it to be successful," Ms. Alexis said. “And she always defended it when people put it down.”

Mrs. Alexis enjoyed entertaining family and friends and her children’s friends, her daughter said, and “her house was always full of food, drink and activity."

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At the end of the day, Mrs. Alexis enjoyed sipping cream sherry.

“I’d come home from work and I’d make her a cocktail of cream sherry. I’d pour one or two inches in a glass and sometimes she’d ask for another inch,” her daughter said, with a laugh.

She enjoyed traveling to Greece, France and England and vacationing locally in Bethany Beach, Del. She was also a devotee of mystery novels.

Mrs. Alexis was also an inveterate Orioles, Ravens, Maryland Terps and tennis fan.

“She also had a huge crush on Roger Federer,” her daughter said.

Mrs. Alexis was a lifetime member of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation.

Her husband died in 1973.

Funeral services were held Monday at the Greek Orthodox Cemetery in Woodlawn.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Alexis is survived by two sons, William Alexis of Rodgers Forge and John Alexis of Towson; two grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

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