Pari Mavrophilipos, a homemaker and celebrated family cook who emigrated from the Greek island of Ikaria at the age of 18, died of acute respiratory failure April 23 at Hospice of the Chesapeake in Severna Park. The Edgewater resident was 92.
Born in the village of Magganitis, she was the daughter of Dimitri Manolis and Stella Politis, a homemaker. Her father left Greece when she was an infant to work as a merchant marine sailor. He then immigrated to America and became a New York City chef.
Mrs. Mavrophilipos left Ikaria, which was occupied by German and Italian soldiers during World War II, and moved to the United States to reunite with her father at 18. Her father’s influence paired with her natural ability to create gourmet Greek dishes, such as skordalia, a traditional Greek garlic sauce, pastitsio, a pasta bake, spanakopita, and all varieties of fish her husband would catch.
“She was fun, energetic, outgoing, vivacious, had a wonderful sense of humor, just magnificent in every respect in terms of the traditional immigrant Greek wife. An unbelievable homemaker and cook who did everything for everybody, including all family and friends,” said Dean Pappas of Edgewater, her son-in-law.
Standing at 4 feet 10, the petite Mrs. Mavrophilipos had an impressive fashion sense and a magnetic personality. She was a mainstay at Ikarian dances, where she met her husband while living in Pittsburgh. She married her husband of 56 years, the late Avgerinos “Paul” Mavrophilipos, in June 1949.
The couple moved to New York City and then Baltimore, where they lived for 50 years. Mr. Mavrophilipos owned two Baltimore eateries, the Rainbow Restaurant on East Baltimore Street and the Kome On In on Harford Road. He later founded Manolis Painting with Mrs. Mavrophilipos’ brother, Konstantinos, which continues today.
Mrs. Mavrophilipos, who taught herself how to read and write in English, was a fixture of the Ikarian community and attended an annual Ikarian convention across the country each Labor Day weekend. The Mavrophiliposes were the first people from both their families to move to America.
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The couple hosted scores of family and friends who later followed and lived with them in Northeast Baltimore’s Loch Raven neighborhood.
“My mother was an unbelievable wife to take on some of this responsibility. But she was there and she just did everything she could to help get everyone situated and then help them transition to their own homes,” said Maria Pappas, her daughter.
The family of five spent summers at their beach house in Port Jefferson, New York.
Mrs. Mavrophilipos and her husband moved to Norfolk, Virginia, briefly in 2003 before returning to the Baltimore region. When Mr. Mavrophilipos died in 2007, she lived near her daughter in Edgewater before moving into a senior living facility.
“She had the best laugh. We laughed so much together,” Maria Pappas said. “She had a great sense of humor. She got along with everybody. Anybody who got to know my mom immediately loved her.”
A funeral service was held Thursday at Ruck Towson Funeral Home.
In addition to her daughter and son-in-law, Mrs. Mavrophilipos is survived by her two sons Dimitrios Mavrophilipos, of Queens, New York, and Stelianos Mavrophilipos, of Norfolk; nine grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband and brother.