Yolanda D. Santoni, 86, helped create supermarketsYolanda...

November 26, 1995

Yolanda D. Santoni, 86, helped create supermarkets

Yolanda D. Santoni, who helped established an independent chain of Baltimore supermarkets and smaller markets, died of a stroke Wednesday at her Joppa residence. She was 86.

Mrs. Santoni was married to the late Savino Santoni, who opened the first Santoni's store in 1930 with his brother, Terzo, in the rear of the family home at 119 S. Eaton St. in Highlandtown.

Today, Santoni's has expanded to include three supermarkets in Highlandtown, Dundalk and Edgewood, with smaller stores in Glyndon, Rosedale and Abingdon.

"The room they started the store in measured 14 feet by 14 feet," said a son, Robert N. Santoni Sr., president of the third-generation company, still owned and managed by the family.

"In those days it was very common in East Baltimore to have grocery stores, cleaners and bars on every corner."

Despite the 1929 stock market crash, the Santonis took a chance opening the business. Mr. Santoni kept his job with the Canton Railroad and later worked in the tin mill at Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Sparrows Point plant.

"He kept that job for 10 years after going into the grocery business just to be sure," Robert Santoni said.

The couple lived above the store, where they raised their four sons who delivered meats, vegetables and other perishables to patrons throughout Highlandtown in their little red wagons.

After closing the store and moving to larger quarters, the Santonis continued to live in the same house until they moved to Joppa 10 years ago.

Savino Santoni died in 1989.

The former Yolanda De Angelis, who was born and raised in Priverno, Italy, where she attended school through the fifth grade, immigrated to East Baltimore in 1915. She worked in Baltimore garment lofts as a seamstress until she married in 1931.

"Mom loved the grocery business and people," Robert Santoni said. "She could speak Italian, which made the customers feel comfortable, plus she was an excellent cook and made sure that the store was stocked with all the ethnic foods."

"She and my father worked in the store from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. or later, and here she was raising four sons, a husband and a brother-in-law and everyday she managed to have breakfast on the table, our lunches packed and dinner ready at 6 p.m."

With the store closed on Sunday, Mrs. Santoni was able to indulge her passion for Italian cooking and entertaining, which she amply shared with family and friends.

Despite advancing years, Mrs. Santoni did not lose interest in the grocery business. "She took great joy in all the stores and up until a year ago was still helping out," her son said.

Mrs. Santoni still drove her car until a year ago and traveled to Rome in November last year to witness the elevation of Archbishop William H. Keeler to cardinal.

"She worked side-by-side with her husband for 50 years, and I think she was happy every moment," said Mr. Santoni.

Mrs. Santoni was one of the founders of the Luigi Schialdone Lodge of the Order of the Sons of Italy and was an active communicant of Our Lady of Pompei Roman Catholic Church and parochial school. She also was active in the 1940s and the 1950s in the Loyola High School Mother's Club.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Our Lady of Pompei Church, Conkling Street and Claremont Avenue, Highlandtown.

She is survived by three other sons, Paul L. Santoni of Bel Air, Albert S. Santoni of Fripp Island, S.C., and Louis T. Santoni of Pontiac, Mich.; 20 grandchildren; and 23 great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to Savino Santoni Scholarship Fund, 912 Edgewood Road, Edgewood 21040.

Chih-Kung Jen, who was born in a poor village in China and went on to work for 27 years as a scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Howard County, died last Sunday at a daughter's home in Needham, Mass. He was 89.

Mr. Jen was head of the microwave physics group at the laboratory and served as vice chairman of the research center. His specialty was microwave spectroscopy. He lived in Silver Spring.

In 1972, Mr. Jen lead a delegation of U.S. scientists to China and took an additional nine trips there.

Mr. Jen is survived by his wife, Pao-Cheng Jen, of Silver Spring; four daughters, May Koo, of Mountain View, Calif., Linda Jen-Jacobson, of Pittsburgh, Phyllis Jen, of Needham, and Erica Jen, of El Rancho, N.M.; a brother, Ren Zhi-Jian, of Beijing; a FTC sister, Ren Zhi-Fang, of Lanzhou, China; nine grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

A memorial service is planned for 10 a.m., Dec. 9 at the Inn and Conference Center at the University of Maryland in College Park.

Donations may be sent to the Chih-Kung Jen Scholarship Fund, 134 Edgewater Drive, Needham, Mass., 02192. The fund educates students in the Shanxi Province, where Mr. Jen was born.

Alberta W. MacGregor, 86, physical education teacher

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