Mary C. Akaras
Mary Chrysovergi Akaras fell asleep in the Lord on December 12, 2019. She was born on February 8, 1928, on the island of Halki, Greece, the first of eight children, to Nicholas and Calliope (Kazamias) Chrysovergis.
Mary enjoyed a childhood blessed with the wonders of island life, swimming in the crystal clear seas, living off of the purity of nature, playing with her many siblings at the quayside, where she dreamed of setting sail on one of the island’s many boats for the far corners of the world. During her childhood, the Dodecanese were under Italian governance and she attended Italian grammar school. Mary was a star pupil and because of her fluent command of Italian, she was selected to present a poem and bouquet of flowers to Cesare Maria de Vecchi, Governor of the Dodecanese from 1936 to 1940. NAZI Germany then occupied the Dodecanese, and Mary witnessed the hardship and deprivation of war. As WWII drew to a close, Mary, with six siblings, her parents, and a friend, slipped out of Halki’s harbor on a fishing caique seeking safe haven. Their boat was intercepted by a British destroyer, the crew hoisted them onboard and resettled the family to a British refugee camp where they were reunited with her brother Taki, who had earlier escaped NAZI occupied Halki.
After the War, the Chrisovergis family relocated to Rhodes, where Mary thrived and regaled her friends and family for years about an evening at the Aktaion where she and family friend Davelis won the Rhodes’ dance competition. With a heavy heart, Mary left her beloved Rhodes when the family decided to join relatives in Canada. Sailing with her brother George on the TSS Olympia, Mary arrived at Pier 21, Halifax, Nova Scotia on December 8, 1959, and from there boarded a train to Montreal. In Montreal, Mary was reunited with her beautiful and adoring sister Anastacia, together they worked as seamstresses at the Aquascutum garment factory. Mary’s time in Montreal was one of great growth, she had her own job, a sense of independence, and a social circle that ranged from French Canadians to Greek and Italian immigrants.
A few years on, and Mary was introduced to Nikos Akaras, a Greek-Cypriot who had made his way to Virginia where Mary’s uncle owned a restaurant. Marriage soon followed, and so too motherhood with her first born Antonis Akaras. The growing family relocated to Baltimore, MD, where along with Mary’s brother Tom, they became the proprietors of The Terrace Drive Inn Restaurant. Mary had another son, Andreas, and her other siblings joined her from Canada with Mary, Anastacia, Tom, Tony and George opening Tom’s Diner in Easton, MD.
A corner of Baltimore had been transformed into a piece of Greek island life. Mary’s home served as a central gathering place for family and friends with copious daily home cooked meals, celebrations of family occasions and holidays. Mary settled into raising her family, and giving her children inestimable experiences, taking them on holiday trips to Montreal, Greece, and Cyprus. She saved her pennies and on those picturesque road trips to Montreal, she turned a stop at the Saratoga Diner into a family tradition where she bought enough almond cookies to last beyond the remaining trip to Montreal.
From Baltimore, Mary relocated to College Park, MD, to help her eldest son Tony establish Plato’s Diner. Mary worked the cash-register and took on needed roles to help make her son’s venture a success. When Tony married, Mary rolled up her sleeves some more and helped raise her grandchildren and contributed to family chores. Mary, always one to enjoy life, made sure once the restaurant was successful spent every summer in her beloved Rhodes and Halki.
A person of home and faith, Mary baked her own bread every week, observed the Orthodox calendar, and when she had the chance visited the Holy Land where she was baptized in the Jordan River. Mary was blessed to live a long life that was rooted in faith, committed to family, and sustained by a belief that love was more precious than all else.
Mary was predeceased by her parents and brothers Kitrakis (Takis) and Konstantinos (Dino) Chrisovergis. Mary is survived by her sister Anastacia Primikirios and brothers Athanasios (Tom), Antonios (Tony), Georgios (George), Stelios (Steve) of Baltimore, MD. She is also survived by her son Antonis (Tony) Akaras and his wife Michelle, their children Nikos, Maria and Thanasis of College Park, MD; and her son Andreas Akaras, Esquire, of Washington, DC.
The viewing will be held on Sunday, December 15, 2019 from 2pm to 6pm at Harry H. Witzke’s Family Funeral Home, 4112 Old Columbia Pike, Ellicott City, MD. Mary will lie in repose on Tuesday, December 16, 2019 from 12:30pm to 1:00pm at the Greek Orthodox Cemetery, Chapel of the Holy Resurrection, 5917 Windsor Mill Rd, Woodlawn, MD followed by a funeral service at 1pm. Interment to follow at the adjoining cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory can be made to Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation – Cemetery Chapel or Senior Center – 24 W Preston St, Baltimore, MD 21201
To send flowers to Mary’s family, please visit the Harry H. Witzke Family Funeral Home floral section.