Samuel Conigliaro, 81, co-founded Angelina's

March 03, 1995|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Sun Staff Writer

Samuel Conigliaro, co-founder of Angelina's Restaurant on Harford Road, died Tuesday of complications from Marfan syndrome at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was 81 and lived in Parkville.

He and his wife, the former Sarah Russo, whom he married in 1933, opened the S & S Food Market in a rowhouse in the 7100 block of Harford Road in 1934. In 1952, they converted the store into Angelina's.

They operated the popular Italian restaurant along with Mr. Conigliaro's brother-in-law, Joseph Tadduni, and his wife, Angelina Tadduni, for whom the restaurant is named. Mrs. Tadduni, who was formerly a chef at the restaurant, still works there as a part-time waitress even though the family sold its interest in 1969.

"They worked long hours -- often from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. -- but he was people-oriented and enjoyed the work," said Maria Tiderman, a granddaughter.

"He and his wife worked their whole lives together," said Judy Conigliaro, a former daughter-in-law, who described him as a "very jovial man who was well-liked."

"First they had the grocery store, and after they left the restaurant business, [they] operated the Parkville Delicatessen on Harford Road until 1975, when they retired," she said.

Mr. Conigliaro, whose parents emigrated from Sicily, was born and reared on Albemarle Street in Little Italy. He attended city schools and then went to work for his parents, who operated a fruit stand and luncheonette.

"Their stand was across the street at Pratt and Frederick streets from the Merchants and Miners Steamship pier," said Mrs. Conigliaro. "I'd buy my lunch there and would find any excuse to go in there to see Sam. We . . . married when I was 18."

Mr. Conigliaro was afflicted throughout his life with Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that involves the connective tissue. A person afflicted with the syndrome usually is very tall and thin, with long arms, legs, fingers and toes and may have abnormal curvature of the spine and a dislocated lens in the eye. President Abraham Lincoln was afflicted with the disease.

Dr. Victor A. McKusick, former chief of medicine at Hopkins and university professor of medical genetics, said, "Sam may have been one of the oldest survivors of Marfan syndrome in the country."

"We have good documentation on him and as far as our experience shows, it points to that fact. He was a great family man, cheery, and he never let his condition get in the way of his work and his enjoyment of life," said Dr. McKusick.

Mr. Conigliaro was a member of St. Dominic Roman Catholic Church, 5310 Harford Road, where a Mass of Christian burial was to be offered at 9:30 a.m. today.

He is also survived by two sons, Santo J. Conigliaro of Bel Air and John J. Conigliaro of Perry Hall; six grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

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