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Fannie Angelos, who became an attorney at a time when female lawyers were a rarity and was committed to expanding the ranks of women and minorities in the field, died April 9 at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Fannie Angelos, who became an attorney at a time when female lawyers were a rarity and was committed to expanding the ranks of women and minorities in the field, died April 9 at Johns Hopkins Hospital. (Baltimore Sun)

Fannie Angelos, who became an attorney at a time when female lawyers were rare and who was committed to expanding the ranks of women and minorities in the field, died April 9 at Johns Hopkins Hospital of complications from myelodysplastic syndrome. She was 88.

For the past 37 years, Ms. Angelos was an attorney in the Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, her brother and Orioles owner. She continued to work up until her death.

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"She was born to do what she was doing," Angelos said, describing his older sister as an attorney who was organized, current on new case law and "totally committed."

The eldest daughter of John Angelos and Frances Melissanos Angelos, Ms. Angelos was born in Greece and raised in Baltimore. She graduated from Patterson High School and what is now Towson University.

After college, Ms. Angelos took a job at IBM, but she wanted to become a lawyer, inspired by the example of her grandfather and great-grandfather, attorneys in Greece.

In 1947, while continuing to hold a day job, she enrolled at the University of Baltimore School of Law. She graduated in 1951 as a top student, one of three women in the cohort and one of the first Greek American women to become a lawyer.

Education was a priority for his sister early on, Mr. Angelos said.

"She was very studious … [while] I was out playing ball most of the time," he said.

Ms. Angelos passed the Maryland bar exam and opened a law office in Baltimore, representing people in a variety of litigation matters. She married in 1954 and had three children.

A member of the Annunciation, St. Nicholas and St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox churches, Ms. Angelos became interested in the church, especially toward the end of her life, said the Rev. Michael Pastrikos, pastor at St. Nicholas, who said he got to know Ms. Angelos in the last year or so.

"When she walked into the room, you knew it was a classy lady," Father Pastrikos said, adding that he first learned of Ms. Angelos through his daughter, an attorney at the Angelos law firm.

"She admired her very much," he said.

Ms. Angelos served as national president of the Karpathian Educational Progressive Association, a foundation that provides history, leadership and scholarship for Greek Americans. She also mentored many young professional women, encouraging them to seek higher education and to have aspirations in fields that were traditionally reserved for men.

In 2013, the Baltimore Scholars legal preparatory program at the University of Baltimore Law School was renamed The Fannie Angelos Program for Academic Excellence. The program is designed to increase diversity in the legal profession by expanding access for students from four of Maryland's historically black colleges. Ms. Angelos took an active role in the program, serving as a mentor and meeting with students to discuss how to succeed despite personal and institutional barriers.

A lifelong Democrat, Ms. Angelos was engaged with the political debates of the day and was concerned about civil rights, poverty and other matters, her brother said.

"She certainly had her strong ideas and opinions," he said. "She was on the right side of the issues."

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Private services were held April 11.

Ms. Angelos is survived by her three children; their spouses; nine grand-children; her brother Peter and his wife; her sister, Sophia; and five nephews and nieces.

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