Dimitra M. Tangires, an interior designer and instructor at Anne Arundel Community College, died of cancer Wednesday at Gilchrist Center Towson. She was 65 and lived in Ruxton and Easton.
Born in Baltimore and raised in West Hills and Ruxton, she was the daughter of William Tangires, who owned the old Blue Top Diner on Boston Street and was later a First National Bank investment broker, and his wife, Georgia Topal, music director of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation. As a young woman she worked Saturdays at her father’s diner and on a lunch wagon the family owned.
Known as Dimi, she was a 1973 graduate of Roland Park Country School. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in interior design from the Maryland Institute College of Art.
She later helped members of the Greek community who owned restaurants and homes with interior decorations.
“She was fun-loving and lived life to the fullest. She enjoyed beautiful things and wanted you to do the same,” said her sister, Helen Tangires. “She loved to explore on her own and was an independent spirit.
“Her professional career was launched in downtown Baltimore during the urban renaissance of the 1980s, when she was a staff designer in the commercial furniture sales and supply industry at Stark Office Supply,” her sister said.
Ms. Tangires was then an interior design coordinator in the facilities, design, and construction department at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she engaged in the planning, design and preparation of the institution’s interior design and capital improvement projects.
She was senior facilities designer at Hopkins and did designs for its Meyerhoff Center and Wilmer Eye Institute.
She also worked to make the public aware of the role and responsibility of design professionals to quality-of-life issues of public health, safety and welfare, while remaining sensitive to historic preservation, her sister said.
“One of her more memorable projects was working on the conversion of the Phipps Clinic to office space after the 1912 landmark was spared demolition,” her sister said.
In 1992 she received a certificate in real estate development from the Johns Hopkins School of Continuing Studies, Alan L. Berman Real Estate Institute, and managed her own interior design practice. Throughout the last three decades she did residential and commercial design projects throughout Baltimore, Washington, Annapolis and the Eastern Shore.
“She had a particular flair for impromptu sketching of ideas, followed by the preparation of presentation boards that gave her clients clear choices,” her sister said. “She also took pleasure in selecting colors, materials, and furnishings, and one-of-a-kind antiques, to finish off custom jobs.”
She also worked on designer show houses, traveling displays, and other methods for engaging artists, students and industry professionals.
She became an instructor in the Department of Architecture & Interior Design in the School of Business, Computing and Technical Studies at Anne Arundel Community College. She received tenure in 2008 and remained on the faculty until her retirement in 2015.
“She made lifelong friends at the college,” her sister said. “Her students became friends.
“She had a passion for teaching and for getting her students to recognize their own talents,” her sister said. “She brought an active approach to training designers through real-life learning opportunities, which were the foundation of the program.”
In a 2011 Sun article, Ms. Tangires said: “If you can have a creative thought in your head, that’s one thing; being able to explain it to someone else who isn’t creative, that’s a whole other thing. What we as designers have to do is find the communication method.”
She also said in the article, “The hardest thing as an interior designer is to get someone to understand and have faith in what you’ve created.”
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She was an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers and served two terms on the Maryland State Board of Certified Interior Designers.
After living in Ruxton and Federal Hill, she moved to Easton in 2003.
She began writing for Shore Home & Garden Magazine and contributed to ASID Perspectives Magazine. She was a participant in the Talbot Hospice Festival of Trees.
Her sister said Ms. Tangires enjoyed exploring the Eastern Shore and traveling to Europe. She was an avid antiques collector.
“Friends and family will remember her love of the salty ocean breezes, barefoot walks on the beach, collecting seashells,” her sister said “She loved the sights and sounds of eagles and osprey in flight.”
In addition to her father, a Ruxton resident, survivors include another sister, Mary Wojnowski of the Eastern Shore, and many cousins.
A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at the Greek Orthodox Cemetery, 5917 Windsor Mill Road in Woodlawn.