James Karas, welder

James Karas

James Karas, a retired Bethlehem Steel Corp. welder who also owned and operated a Northeast Market lunch counter, died Friday of prostate cancer at his Baldwin home. He was 88.

The son of Greek immigrant parents, Mr. Karas was born in Weirton, W.Va., and when he was 3 moved to Greece with his family.

In 1926, the family returned to Weirton, where his father built a home on King's Creek. A decade later, the family moved to Highlandtown.

Mr. Karas was a graduate of city public schools and in 1942 enlisted in the Navy. He served as a Seabee with the 87th Construction Battalion in the Pacific.

After the war, he returned to Highlandtown, and in 1952 went to work as a welder at Bethlehem Steel's Sparrows Point tin mill. He retired in 1983.

In addition to working as a welder, Mr. Karas and his wife, the former Despenea Angeledes, whom he married in 1949, owned and operated a lunch counter in the Northeast Market.

Mrs. Karas died in 1976.

After retiring from Bethlehem, he worked for several years as a security guard, deliveryman and cook.

Mr. Karas enjoyed going to the beach, flying kites with his grandchildren and making ceramics. He also was a gardener.

He was a communicant of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, 24 W. Preston St., where funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday.

Surviving are two sons, Savas Karas of Phoenix, Baltimore County, and Ernest Karas of Montgomery Village; a daughter, Sharon Frangiskakis of Perry Hall; a sister, Evelyn Karas of Highlandtown; six grandchildren; a great-granddaughter; and his longtime companion, Carol Taylor of Baldwin.