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.”
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.