Michael E. Karas, a former Patterson High School teacher and finance director for Baltimore schools, died of congestive heart failure Monday at his daughter's Baltimore County home. He was 84.
Mr. Karas was born in Charleston, S.C., and moved to Greece with his family when he was about 8 years old, said his wife, Annette Theodorou Karas. The family later moved to Weirton, W.Va., before settling in Highlandtown.
He graduated from City College in 1941 and served in the Navy as a chief machinist's mate aboard the USS Ashland during World War II, Mrs. Karas said. Her husband participated in six invasions in the central Pacific, she said.
After Mr. Karas returned to Maryland, he met his future wife at her cousin's wedding. The couple married in November 1951, during Mr. Karas' last year at the University of Maryland, College Park. He graduated in 1952 with a bachelor's degree in business education and accounting.
He later earned a master's degree in education at Loyola College while teaching at Patterson. He went on to become staff director for finance systems and procedures for the Baltimore school system and worked to computerize budgeting, according to his family. He retired in 1981.
The family lived in Hamilton for 34 years before moving to Perry Hall. Mr. and Mrs. Karas moved to their daughter's home in Phoenix about three years ago.
Mr. Karas helped found St. Nicholas and St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox churches, and served on the first board of both churches, Mrs. Karas said.
He played golf and was a lifelong member and past president of the Midtown Optimists and past lieutenant governor of Optimist International for Maryland, according to his family. He also enjoyed yearly reunions of the crew of the Ashland, Mrs. Karas said.
Services were held yesterday at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Karas is survived by two daughters, Evonne Toutsis Kaniecki of Phoenix and Denise Karas of Monkton; two sisters, Joyce Melonas of Mays Chapel and Evelyn Karas of Highlandtown; a brother, James Karas of Cockeysville; and three grandchildren.