Stanley A. `Steve' Ambridge

[ Age 92 ] The owner of a Dundalk bakery and delicatessen, he later became a tax collector for the state

He urged the General Assembly to put a community college in Dundalk and later served on its advisory council.

October 11, 2006|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,sun reporter

Stanley A. "Steve" Ambridge, who owned a Dundalk bakery and delicatessen and later collected state income taxes, died of cancer Saturday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. The Cockeysville resident was 92.

He was born Stelios Arambiges in Filbert, W.Va., two months after his parents emigrated from Greece - having fled Turkey in the turbulent and bloody years preceding the Greco-Turkish War.

As a young man, he lived in Steubenville, Ohio, and worked in a liquor store alongside Dino Paul Crocetti, who did singing imitations of Bing Crosby at local social events where the young Mr. Arambiges was master of ceremonies.

The friends both soon changed their names - Crocetti to Dean Martin, while Arambiges became Stanley Ambridge.

"My dad told me that he was living a wild life on the streets of Steubenville, which was known as Little Chicago, when his father took him aside and told him he was bringing discredit to his family and his Greek community by cursing and misbehaving," said a son, real estate developer and former Baltimore City Councilman Anthony J. Ambridge. "He told me he has not used the Lord's name in vain since that day in 1928, nor broken any law."

Mr. Ambridge met actor Orson Welles, who encouraged him to move to New York City to try radio work. Both he and Mr. Martin moved to Manhattan in the mid-1930s, but Mr. Ambridge soon returned home and enrolled at Ohio State University in Columbus.

At Ohio State, he met Konstantina "Connie" Chirigos and dropped out of college to follow her to Baltimore after her family moved here. They married in 1942.

Mr. Ambridge took a job at Bethlehem Steel's Key Highway Shipyard and during World War II worked on a crew that tested the operation of Liberty ships and other vessels.

After the war, he opened a basement grocery store at St. Paul and 33rd streets, and later had stores in O'Donnell Heights and Northeast Baltimore. In 1952, he opened the Ambridge Bakery and Delicatessen at Merritt Boulevard and Wise Avenue in Dundalk.

Mr. Ambridge was a past president of the Dundalk Rotary Club.

Believing that public education was a cornerstone of society and watching the Southeast Baltimore industrial base begin to shrivel, "he petitioned the General Assembly to put a community college there," his son said.

Mr. Ambridge served for 12 years on a citizens' advisory council for what is now the Community College of Baltimore County's Dundalk campus.

He retired in 1974 but grew restless and found a job in the state comptroller's office. He collected taxes from people who lived outside Maryland but drew an income here. Among his payees were members of the former Baltimore Colts football team. Mr. Ambridge presented a tax bill to quarterback Bert Jones - and got his payment, his son said. He retired from the state job in 1985.

Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. today at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, Maryland Avenue and Preston Street, where he was a member.

In addition to his wife and son, survivors include two other sons, K. Gary Ambridge of Bel Air and Stanley Ambridge of Towson; twin daughters Maria Giordana of Cockeysville and Angela Isett of Lutherville; a brother, the Rev. Ernest Arambiges of Towson; a sister, Aphrodite Lambrow of White Marsh; 14 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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