Family remembers Pauline Pappas, matriarch of ‘mini Ellis Island’

Written by on July 3, 2013 in Neighborhood News - No comments

Pauline Pappas, 84, a well-known former resident of Southeast Baltimore, passed away on May 24. An employee of the H & S Bakery Outlet Store in Fell’s Point for 30 years, Pappas’ smiling face and welcoming demeanor were sunny enough to bring her a measure of fame, as she was once featured in “Baltimore Magazine.”

“She was a wonderful woman, a pillar of the community,” said daughter Anastasia Rajewski of Churchville. “She was a sweet, kind and loving woman.”

Born in Yorkville, Ohio, both Pappas (whose last name is a shortened version of Papademetriou) and her late husband, Emanuel Papademetriou, trace their ancestry to a village, Lahania, on the Greek island of Rhodes. The couple had five children.

The extended family lived at the corner of Eastern and Patterson Park avenues at a time when immigration was high.

Daughter Maria Papademetriou of Washington state wrote that their family home was “a virtual mini Ellis Island.” Pappas and her husband sponsored and hosted many family members and friends from Greece emigrating to America.

“They instilled in their children a sense of tradition in the Greek Community,” said Papademetriou. “They were much admired for their gracious hospitality and generous spirit.”

Anastasia Papademetriou, Pauline Pappas’ niece, said that Pappas took her into her home when she arrived in the U.S. at age 13.

“She was like my mom,” she said. “She took care of me; she was a beautiful person. Everybody that came from Greece—we ended up in her house.”

Pauline Pappas’ husband, Emanuel Papademetriou, held a variety of jobs over the years.

“He didn’t really have a specific trade, but he was a very good cook and a very good baker,” said Rajewski, adding that her father had worked as a pastry chef and also once owned a dry cleaner.

When he fell ill, Pauline Pappas went to work at H & S. She also took care of both her mother and father, Emanuel and Maria Pokhias.

“She was just a really good mother and wife and daughter,” said Rajewski. “She took care of my grandfather until he died, and then she went to work at H & S.”

Both Rajewski and Maria Papademetriou noted that their mother had a strong artistic aptitude.

“She showed genuine talent as a painter and created beautiful watercolors,” wrote Papademetriou.

Rajewski commented on her mother’s love for singing. After she retired from H & S, Pauline Pappas went to live at the Essex Co-op Apartments in Essex, where she became a member of a glee club that performed at assisted living facilities.

“She would say, ‘We’re going to sing for the old people,’” remembered Rajewski with a laugh. “Well, she was old—they were all old people singing for old people.”

Both Rajewski and Papademetriou expressed gratitude toward both of their parents for their upbringing.

“They worked real hard and put us all through school,” said Rajewski, noting that all the female daughters went to Catholic High School.

“Pauline produced five beautiful children,” wrote Papademetriou, “all of whom became talented, productive, respectful and loving people.”

“She had a long and good life,” she added. “She was so very much loved and will be missed by many. May her spirit be eternal.”

by Erik Zygmont

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