Anna Spoonire

[ Age 70 ] She was known for her good humor in 45 years working as a waitress, nearly 30 of them at the Bel-Loc Diner.

"She had a very outgoing personality," said her daughter, Linda Harris. "She had the energy of a bull horse."

October 31, 2007|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,Sun reporter

Anna M. Spoonire, a veteran waitress who during her nearly 30-year career at the Bel-Loc Diner dispensed plenty of good cheer while filling customers' coffee cups and delivering meals, died of cancer Sunday at her Glen Burnie home. She was 70.

In a 2003 interview with The Sun, Mrs. Spoonire, whose waitressing career spanned 45 years, explained her recipe for success.

"You really have to like people in this job. And I like people," Mrs. Spoonire told a reporter.

"But it really helps to develop a sense of humor because you see all kinds, from the people out at night after clubbing to the grouches at 6 a.m.," added Mrs. Spoonire, who always dressed in a fresh, starched white uniform, which she wore with a comfortable pair of white soft-soled shoes. "And once you understand how they tick, you understand you can be courteous to all of 'em."

Anna McComas was born in Baltimore and raised on Keswick Road. She attended Baltimore public schools.

She worked at several small luncheonettes before going to work as a waitress at the Run Inn at 34th and Greenmount Avenue in 1958. She worked at the fabled Waverly restaurant for 22 years before joining the staff at the Bel-Loc Diner in Towson in 1980.

In recent years, and after recovering from arthroscopic surgery necessitated by years and years of standing on her feet, Mrs. Spoonire cut back her schedule to three 12-hour days.

"She did that until she became ill and had to stop working in early August," said her daughter, Linda G. Harris of Crownsville.

"She had a very outgoing personality, a high tolerance for low tippers and the ability to wear down the grouchiest customer," Ms. Harris said. "She had the energy of a bull horse and could outdo the kids."

"She was a great lady and a great person. The diner was her life," said Bill Doxanas, who has owned the Bel-Loc since 1972.

"She was dependable, trustworthy and great with the customers, and knew how to handle the whiners and when to be firm," he said. "And she knew from experience when to go with the flow."

Mrs. Spoonire's workday began at 1:30 a.m. when she got up in her Glen Burnie home and arrived at the diner by 3:30 a.m. Her daily routine included getting the coffee and orange juice ready and wiping down the counter and booths for the customers who would begin arriving at 6 a.m.

"In addition to waitressing, she also made all the cakes, which were called on the menu `Annie's Cakes'," her daughter said. "They could be a yellow and chocolate cake or a coconut cake. She made a variety of cakes."

Mrs. Spoonire would even customize a cake for the holidays and was known for her red, white and blue Fourth of July cake.

"She was one great baker, and the one rule I had was that she couldn't sell a whole cake. I didn't want her to leave her post as a waitress and go into the bakery business," Mr. Doxanas said with a laugh.

Even though she had retired, Mrs. Spoonire liked visiting the diner and greeting her old co-workers and customers.

"The Bel-Loc isn't a place where it's just an employer-and-employee type of situation. This is a family-oriented business," Mr. Doxanas said.

"And when she got sick, her fellow employees and the customers sent her cards, flowers and called her. It made her feel good. She was not just another waitress around here," he said.

Mrs. Spoonire's first husband, Paul Esbrandt, died in 1977; her second husband, Ray Spoonire, died nine years ago.

Services were yesterday.

Also surviving are three granddaughters and three great-grandsons.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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