Dr. Robert Padousis, a retired Rosedale dentist who collected classic cars and was a Vietnam War veteran, died of Parkinson’s disease complications Jan. 25 at his home in Essex. He was 82.
Born in Weirton, West Virginia, he was the son of Evangelos Padousis, a Crown Cork and Seal worker, and his wife, Perdica, a London Fog seamstress. His parents came to the United States from the Greek island of Chios.
Raised in Baltimore on Savage Street, he learned English in Baltimore City schools and was a 1957 graduate of Baltimore City College, where he was class president.
“Bob learned the value of hard work at a young age. His father passed away when he was 19 years old,” said a son, Dr. Jeffrey Padousis of St. Louis. “Through this adversity, Bob learned that the best path forward in this life is through education.”
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Maryland, College Park and was a graduate of the University of Maryland Dental School.
He enlisted in the Army and as a captain practiced dentistry at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam from 1965 to 1966.
His older sister, Agnes, introduced him to his future wife, Kitsa Mitsos.
“I’ve been a friend of his since 1955. We met at the Greek school held by the church after our regular school classes,” said Manuel “Manny” Antonakas. “He was the definition of a gentleman. He never raised his voice. He listened to what you had to say. He was smart and a man of integrity. He worked hard for what he achieved.”
Mr. Antonakas also said, “We used to double date because he was the only one who owned a car. It was a stick-shift 1949 Plymouth.”
In 1968 Dr. Padousis founded a dental practice in the basement of his home in Rosedale. He was later joined by Dr. Constantine Kaminaris. His wife initially assisted Dr. Padousis at his office.
“He was known affectionately to his patients and staff as “Dr. P.” and he told children how he built his practice on the 3 A’s: available, affordable, and affable,” said the family biography.
His daughter, Stephanie Gavrilis, said, “His patients loved him. He was intelligent and throughout life he was a giver. He had a tremendous heart for people.”
She said his practice continued to expand, outgrowing the basement office. In 1982, he moved to Kenwood Avenue. Dr. Padousis and another son, Dr. Evan Padousis, who joined him in the practice, later opened a second office in Perry Hall.
“It was an honor. We were both very proud of each other working together. We both learned a lot from each other. He wanted to learn from me and I wanted to learn from him,” said Dr. Evan Padousis in a family biography.
“He was attuned to the needs of dentistry in the community, and he tried to marry the activities of the academic world at the University of Maryland to the practical world of his practice and his patients,” said Dr. Fred Magaziner, a friend and fellow dentist. “Bob was also active in the Baltimore County Dental Association.”
Dr. Padousis retired in 2004. He was inducted into the Pierre Fauchard Academy, an honorary dental service organization.
He was also involved in the formation of a dental hygiene training program at the Community College of Baltimore County.
Dr. Padousis was a collector of classic Thunderbirds, Buick Rivieras and Cadillacs. He drove to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, searching for a diamond in the rough at auto auctions.
He was a founding member of the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church. He and his wife worked to build a church and establish the parish.
“This was a lifelong project for both of them, raising three children in that church along the way,” the family biography said. “Being Greek was never just a nationality, it has always been a core part of their identity.”
Dr. Padousis also supported his parish in its efforts to open a preschool.
“[He] suggested the bilingual school last year,” said a 2001 Sun article. “Recently, the congregation has experienced a baby boom, with about 30 babies christened.”
The Rev. Louis Noplos, pastor of St. Demetrios Church, said, “He was a founding father of our church and served on the parish council. He loved history and taught using it. And as a dentist, he was very gentle.”
Family members recalled Dr. Padousis as an orator, joke teller, toastmaster and eulogist.
“He always seemed to find the right words,” said his daughter, “He was someone you wanted to hear from at an event.”
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“In the evenings, Bob would sprawl out on the family room floor. He would be surrounded by newspapers. He loved discussing history, politics, and current events,” his daughter said. “His debates were often lively, but he always tried to understand the viewpoints of those around him, no matter how much he may have disagreed.”
He was a fan of big band music and songs of the 1950s. He recorded his own performance of “Sunrise, Sunset,” which was played at his daughter’s wedding.
A funeral will be held at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 2504 Cub Hill Road. The funeral will be livestreamed on the Saint Demetrios Facebook page. Dr. Padousis will also lie in state one hour before the service begins.