William L. Kanaras, 70, restaurant owner

March 21, 2003

William L. Kanaras, a retired Baltimore restaurant owner who was active in Greek cultural affairs, died of a heart attack Tuesday at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del. The Perry Hall resident was 70.

Mr. Kanaras was born and educated in Sparta, Greece, and immigrated to Baltimore in 1951.

"He became the head of his family when he was 14, after his father had been killed in the civil war in Greece in the late 1940s," said his wife of 43 years, the former Nelly Sakellarakos.

"When he came to Baltimore, where he was taken in by relatives, he spoke no English and had no money. Not long afterward, he was drafted into the Army and served in Korea with the infantry," she said.

After being wounded, Mr., Kanaras spent months recuperating in military hospitals and was awarded the Purple Heart.

He returned to Baltimore and went to work at the Oriole Shoe factory, earning enough money to bring his mother, two brothers and sister to Baltimore.

In the early 1960s, Mr. Kanaras purchased Gable's Restaurant on downtown Commerce Street. After selling the restaurant, he became partners with several family members in Ruggiero's Restaurant in Eastpoint.

"He was chef, bartender and manager until selling the business in 1979," Mrs. Kanaras said.

Mr. Kanaras was an avid duckpin and ten-pin bowler, and participated in several leagues. He also enjoyed playing poker. He was active for years in the annual Greek Festival, helping to prepare Greek dishes and serve drinks.

He was a communicant of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, Maryland Avenue and Preston Street, where services will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

In addition to his wife, survivors include three daughters, Gina Kanaras and Julie Kanaras, both of Abingdon, and Ava E. Fafalios of Northeast; two brothers, Thomas L. Kanaras of Towson and George L. Kanaras of Lutherville; a sister, Lisa Christacos of Alexandria, Va.; and a granddaughter.

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