Spencer Vavas, 62, founded area restaurant franchises

January 14, 2004

Spencer Vavas, who founded a workers' compensation company and restaurant franchises throughout the Baltimore area, died of a stroke Jan. 7 at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. He was 62.

Mr. Vavas, who lived in Cockeysville for many years, was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. He attended Brooklyn College for two years before leaving to become a Nationwide Insurance agent.

In 1976, he moved to Baltimore to develop a string of Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips franchises in Baltimore and surrounding counties. He operated the restaurants under the corporate name Clipper Foods.

After selling the restaurants, he founded Statutory Benefits Management Corp., a Baltimore company that managed workers' compensation and unemployment benefits for large self-insured companies throughout the country. He operated the company for six years before selling it in 1998.

In recent years, he developed Damon's Grill franchises in Crofton, Arundel Mills and Perry Hall.

His first marriage, to the former Georgia Neomenitas, ended in divorce. He married Irene Karpouzie 7 1/2 years ago.

Mr. Vavas was an active member of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, and enjoyed fishing, racquetball and cards.

He was an organ donor, and after his death, his family learned that his liver had been used to help save a life. "We were very proud of that," said his daughter, Stella Sabracos of Timonium. "He was a man of integrity, pride. He was proud of being an American, and he shared that with everyone he met."

Services were held Monday.

In addition to his wife and daughter, survivors include another daughter, Christine Antola of King of Prussia, Pa.; a son, Nicholas Vavas of Annapolis; his mother, Stella Vavas, and a brother, Daniel N. Vavas, both of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and two grandchildren.

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