Armando J. FelixChef, pianistArmando J. Felix, a virtuoso...

April 30, 1994

Armando J. Felix

Chef, pianist

Armando J. Felix, a virtuoso both in the kitchen and on the concert stage, died April 6 of lymphoma at Stella Maris Hospice. The retired executive chef was 68 and lived in Sparks.

The native of Monrovia, Calif., learned gourmet cooking from his grandmother and also studied piano. He made his concert debut in 1943 at the age of 13 at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City.

He studied music in Los Angeles and at Claremont McKenna (Calif.) College, the Sherwood School of Music in Chicago and Trinity University in San Antonio.

He was an Army entertainment specialist from 1951 to 1953 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. After he was discharged, he toured professionally in the United States, Canada and Mexico and was artistic director of the Padua Hills Theater in Claremont.

In 1967, he moved to Santa Barbara, Calif., and opened his first restaurant, Casa Madrid. After cooking for customers, he would sit at the concert grand piano, still in chef's togs, and play classical music.

He moved to Washington in 1978 as executive chef for the Host International Hotel and later the Sheraton Inn Washington Northeast.

He was appointed executive chef of Baltimore's Center Club in 1982. After a year, he returned to Ojai, Calif., and opened the Firebird Restaurant and later a gourmet carry-out before returning to Baltimore where he worked at the Tremont Hotel and the Sparrows Point Country Club until he retired in 1990.

"He was one of the sweetest people -- too sweet in fact to be a chef," recalled Albert Kirchmayr, a chocolatier who worked with Mr. Felix at the Center Club and who now owns Kirchmayr Chocolates in Woodbrook.

"Most chefs tend to be tough guys because of the stressful environment they work in. However, Armando was exotic and was highly skilled in creating recipes that were ahead of its time, such as the Mexican influence on American cuisine. He was six or seven years ahead of everyone else in that regard," Mr. Kirchmayr said.

He studied in France and with Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. In 1982, he was awarded first prize in the Cooking Olympics for Nouvelle Cuisine and in 1989 he was included in the chefs' National Registry.

He is survived by his wife of 19 years, the former Nancy A. House of Yuba City, Calif.; three sons, David Muniz of Montana, Steven Muniz of Nevada and John Schmid of Ontario, Calif.; two daughters, Laura Schmid of Santa Barbara and Nanci Buchalter of Ventura, Calif.; a brother, Roger Felix of Monrovia; and six grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 8219 Town Center Drive, P.O. Box 43025, Baltimore 21236.

There were no services.

Dr. Edward J. Donati

Anatomy professor

Dr. Edward J. Donati, retired associate professor of anatomy at the University of Maryland medical school, died Tuesday of cancer at the Good Samaritan Hospital. He was 69 and lived in Towson.

He retired in 1987 after teaching at the medical school since 1968.

Earlier, he had been been chief of the Pathology Department in the Experimental Medicine Division of the Army Medical Laboratories at Edgewood Arsenal.

Dr. Donati became associated with the Army labs shortly after his graduation from King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. He also did graduate work at the Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia and earned a Ph.D. in 1964 at the University of Maryland medical school.

He was a researcher in spinal cord regeneration and published more than 60 research papers and a laboratory guide to histology that is still in use.

In 1985, the graduating medical school class gave him its Golden Apple Award, one of many citations he received for his teaching and other work at UM, where he was a member of many boards and standing committees.

Dr. Donati was a member of the American Association of Anatomists, the Southern Society of Anatomists, the Electron Microscopy Society of America and the Biological Stain Commission.

A native of Keystone, Pa., he served in the Army during World War II.

JTC A Mass of Christian burial was to be offered at 10:30 a.m. today at St. Maria Goretti Roman Catholic Church in Laflin, Pa.

He is survived by his wife of 46 years, the former Eleanor Walkowiak; and many nieces and nephews.

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