Mary Bahadouris Kiladis, who was active in the Greek community and chaired 1970s Greek Festivals, died of respiratory failure Friday at Oak Crest Village in Parkville. The Perry Hall resident was 91.
Born in Somerville, Massachusetts, she was the daughter of John Bahadouris, a Bethlehem Steel worker and his wife, Kyriaki.
Mrs. Kaladis’ daughter, Kira Kiladis Muller, said her mother grew up in working-class Highlandtown and was the oldest of four daughters born to immigrant parents who had lived in a Greek settlement in Alatsata, Turkey.
She was a 1947 Patterson Park High School graduate and was vice president of her senior class.
“From her social Patterson High School years to her ‘Around the Town’ column in the Annunciation Herald for the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, ‘Baha’ as she was affectionately known, was a one-woman social network,” said her daughter, who lives in Upper Falls.
The daughter recalled her mother’s feisty personality, and her “uncanny” ability to remember people’s names and family lineages.
“She had an active social agenda fueled by friendships formed at Greek Orthodox events across the country,” her daughter said. “She was was the go-to gal for recently arrived Greeks and Greek-Americans, not only in Baltimore, but all over the United States.”
Her sister, Despina Coroneos, said: "Mary was part of a brave group of first-generation Greek Americans who traveled to New York City in 1952 to meet with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese to petition for the establishment of a national organization for young adult Greek Americans. She reminded them that they were not in the old country anymore and that the church needed to evolve.”
The organization that evolved is the Greek Orthodox Youth of America.
She met her future husband, Nicholas Kiladis, at a GOYA convention in Los Angeles in the mid-1950s.
When he relocated to Baltimore in 1959 to work as an engineer at the Glenn L. Martin Company, he reconnected with Mary through the church. They married in 1962.
In November 1966, Mrs. Kaladis and her family moved to Perry Hall where she lived until 2013.
Mrs. Kaladis joined Hutzler’s department store and later worked as an advertising copywriter for Hecht’s. She retired from First National Bank in 1995.
“My mother’s passion for 30 years was her voluntary editorship of the monthly Annunciation Herald and its ‘Around the Town’ column,” her daughter said. “She chronicled a slice of everyday life — including social events, accolades awarded, weddings, births, new businesses, servicemen shipping off and returning — all through a Greek American lens.”
“She was smart and didn’t procrastinate. She worked hard and she tackled any job. She knew how to move people. She was really sharp. We had a lot of good times together,” said a friend, Joanne Souris Deitz of Timonium.
She joined the Annunciation Cathedral administrative staff in the mid-1970s and became a secretary.
She chaired her congregation’s annual three-day Greek Festival and edited the 75th-anniversary yearbook of the Annunciation Cathedral.
Mrs. Kiladis was upbeat in the church news column she wrote and said in one of them, “We don’t consider this a gossip column in the usual sense … in the thousands of words that we’ve printed we’ve had nothing but good news!”
She was later recognized in the 1993 book “American Congregations: Portraits of Twelve Religious Communities.”
For her church service, Mrs. Kaladis was honored with a testimonial dinner by Annunciation in 1975. She received letters of commendation from Mayor William Donald Schaefer and First lady Betty Ford.
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She left the cathedral staff in the 1980s and worked at First National Bank until her retirement in 1995.
In retirement, she and her husband subscribed to the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre and Center Stage and enjoyed attending exhibits at the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum. They traveled to France, Portugal, Greece, Turkey and the Holy Land. She enjoyed family vacations in Ocean City.
Mrs. Kaladis also planned trips and social events for her church’s Golden Age Club.
“She never lost her instinct to do things her own way, on her own terms,” her daughter said.
A funeral will be held at 1 p.m Thursday at the Chapel of the Holy Resurrection at the Greek Orthodox Cemetery, 5917 Windsor Mill Road.
In addition to her daughter and sister, survivors include a son, James Kiladis of Baltimore; another daughter, Lia Kiladis of Paris; two other sisters, Evangeline Bahadouris of Baltimore and Demetra Walters of Bradenton, Florida; and four grandchildren. Her husband of 51 years, an attorney and Maryland Transit Administration manager, died in 2013.