Nickitas M. Marcuri, 60, bartender, collector of model lighthouses

August 10, 1999|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Nickitas Markos Marcuri, a popular Baltimore bartender who collected model lighthouses, died of lung cancer Thursday at Harbor Hospital Center. He was 60 and lived in Federal Hill.

A small man who was called "Nick the Greek" by all who knew him, Mr. Marcuri worked behind the bar dressed in his trademark Sperry Topsiders with no socks, a blue Oxford cloth button-down shirt and khaki pants.

Before becoming a bartender, Mr. Marcuri worked for 18 years as a fire protection engineer, surveying buildings for insurance companies, and retired in the early 1970s.

He then became a doorman at Giannerini's on Harford Road.

"He used to work for drinks in my place," said Mike Giannerini, owner of the bar that closed in 1990. "He was a vibrant person who enjoyed life. He packed 90 years of living into 60."

He was a bartender or manager at Peter's Pub, the old downtown Crease, Rockwell's, McGinn's and the Gandy Dancer near Hollins Market in Southwest Baltimore before he retired again in 1990.

Mr. Marcuri was known for his Bloody Mary cocktails. The drink contains vodka and tomato juice but he added his own touches.

"It was a full-bodied Bloody Mary, all made from scratch and a secret recipe. He began it with vodka, however, and topped it off with vodka," said Peter Kimos, who owned Peter's Pub on South Calvert Street downtown.

"One customer likened [Mr. Marcuri's concoction] to eating a fine steak. It really was a meal in itself," said Mr. Kimos, who would not reveal the drink's ingredients.

Mr. Marcuri was day bartender at Peter's Pub from 1975 until 1987, attending to a clientele of secretaries, busi- nessmen, journalists, stockbrokers and bankers.

"He always had a story for everyone at the bar and he loved singing Greek, Italian and Irish songs while he worked. I don't believe there was ever a person who came to the bar in a bad mood that didn't leave with a smile on their face after being around him," said Mr. Kimos, now the proprietor of Peter's Pour House in the Water Street Mews.

"It was hard to forget Nick. So much good came out of his laughter," Mr. Kimos said.

Mr. Marcuri liked vacationing on North Carolina's Outer Banks. There, he would visit Cape Hatteras Lighthouse with its distinctive swirling black and white stripes. He also collected models of lighthouses.

"He had an entire room, which he called the Lighthouse Room, filled with ceramic and wooden models of lighthouses as well as pictures and even a lighthouse rug. I think he had over 50 models of lighthouses," said his wife of 16 years, the former Catherine Reinholdt.

Born in Steubenville, Ohio, Mr. Marcuri moved to Highlandtown as a child and later to the Hamilton section. He graduated from the Polytechnic Institute in 1957, attended the University of Baltimore and served in the Army in Southeast Asia in the early 1960s.

He was a member of American Legion Dewey Lowman Post No. 109, the St. John Oldtimers and the Otterbein Swim Club.

His two previous marriages ended in divorce.

Services will be held at 10: 30 a.m. tomorrow at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, Maryland Avenue and Preston Street.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Alex Marcuri of Federal Hill and Mark Marcuri of Parkville; a daughter, Leah Marcuri of Parkville; a brother, Russ Marcuri of Hernando, Fla.; an aunt, Olga Livanion of Baltimore; and a niece.

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