On June 9 the Baltimore Sun inducted 12 men and women for being exceptional in their fields into their Business and Civic Hall of Fame. Of the individuals, two were Greek-Americans, lawyer and Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos and successful baking tycoon and developer John Paterakis Sr.
The men were inducted into the Hall of Fame based on their devotion to the city of Baltimore and its community. They both have been committed to charitable causes and both Angelos and Paterakis named the Greek Orthodox Church as their favorite charity.
Angelos was born in Baltimore to parents who immigrated to the United States from Menetes, on the Greek island of Karpathos. In 1961 Angelos passed the bar exam and shortly after opened a law firm that took on product-liability cases for employees. The cases he took were usually on a contingency basis, so he only reaped the legal fees if he won the case for his client.
Angelos’ law firm has offices in Baltimore, Cumberland, MD, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, PA, Wilmington, DE, and Knoxville, TN.
Since 1993 he has been the principle owner of the Baltimore Orioles.
Angelos has dedicated much of his time to work that supports local issues such as supporting the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation in downtown Baltimore. He is also the largest individual donor to the University of Baltimore and he made an anonymous donation to keep the city’s pools open during the particularly hot summer of 2010.
Furthermore, Angelos is a devoted Democrat and has donated millions of dollars to the Democratic Party and its candidates over the years.
John Paterakis Sr was also born in Baltimore in 1929 after his parents immigrated to the United States from the Greek island of Chios. It was in Baltimore that his father, Steve Paterakis, along with his uncle, Harry Tsakalos, established H&S Bakery (named after its owners).
Much changed in the year 1950, when John inherited his father’s interest in the bakery and decided to take the business to another level when he made a deal with McDonald’s in 1965. That deal lives on today as H&S Bakery currently supplies the fast-food chain with 2 million buns a day.
The bakery remains family owned and has expanded to 23 states in the US.
Paterakis is best known by the public for developing the trendy Harbor East neighborhood after a deal with Baltimore’s Mayor, William Donald Schaefer, fell through. Schaefer apparently asked Paterakis to temporarily buy the plot of land, promising to buy it back. When Schaefer did not come through with his end of the deal, Paterakis formed H&S Properties and developed the land which now boasts several high-end retail stores, restaurants, luxury condominiums and hotels.
Paterakis is known to keep a modest life-style while quietly making many donations over the years to Baltimore’s Greek Orthodox churches as well as supporting other causes in the community.
According to the press release of the event Paterakis addressed the crowd at the reception as he received his award, saying, “Remember, I’m just a little Greek baker that got lucky,” and that everything he does in life is done for his children.
Angelos was not able to attend the event.