Ansela Dopkin, 68, vice president, founder of catering company

January 11, 1998|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Ansela Dopkin, whose culinary skills as a Mount Washington homemaker turned into a career as a founder and principal of one of Baltimore's largest catering firms, died of cancer Friday at Union Memorial Hospital. She was 68 and was a Pikesville resident.

Mrs. Dopkin was vice president of sales and principal in The Classic Catering People. One of the largest off-premises caterers in the area, it employs 350 and caters 2,400 events annually in Maryland, Virginia, Washington and southern Pennsylvania.

Mrs. Dopkin honed her reputation as a fine chef cooking for her husband and three children. In 1970, she and her husband opened the Beef Inn on Smith Avenue.

After he became ill, full responsibility for running the restaurant fell temporarily on Mrs. Dopkin. In 1973, the couple decided to go into the catering business and established The Catering People.

In 1990, it merged with Classic Catering to form The Classic Catering People. The company also owns and operates Loco Hombre in the 400 block of W. Cold Spring Lane, and Nate's & Leon's in the 300 block of W. Pratt St.

Mrs. Dopkin made her reputation not only with her fine food but her outgoing personality, sense of humor, and attention to every detail when planning an event with a client.

"She was amazing. She often helped plan 50 or 60 events a week," said her son, Edward L. Dopkin, chief executive officer of the company.

"She saw to it that all the components went together from the food right on down to the colors and the patterns of the tablecloths," he said yesterday.

"She simply loved food and cooking and traveled widely experimenting with new foods and flavors," Mr. Dopkin said.

Born and raised in Mount Washington, the former Ansela Salganik graduated in 1946 from Forest Park High School and earned a bachelor's degree from Goucher College in 1950. She married Michael Dopkin in 1948.

She was a member of Oheb Shalom Congregation and the board of Associated Jewish Charities. She tutored dyslexic children and was a master bridge player.

Services will be held at 3: 30 p.m. today at Sol Levinson & Bros., 8900 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville.

In addition to her husband and son, Mrs. Dopkin is survived by two daughters, Harriet Dopkin of Mount Washington and Anna Dopkin of Homeland; two sisters, Paula Frank of Pikesville and Lenore Lerner of Annapolis; and a grandson.

Pub Date: 1/11/98

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