Greek-American Families

Dezes: George and Helen (Doganges) Dezes

George and Helen (Doganges) Dezes

George Dezes was the son of Alexander Leonidis Dezes and Helen Pavleros Dezes, born on May 9, 1918 in Baltimore, MD. He had a brother Lou, and sisters Rose and Stella. Alexander was a confectioner and owned several stalls in the Cross Street Market in which the whole family worked.

In 1945, George leased a roadside restaurant in Waterloo, MD on Rt.1 between Baltimore and Washington, DC. About the same time, he began dating Helen Doganges of Annapolis, MD. They married at the Church of the Annunciation on December 7, 1947 in Baltimore. Helen, George and his parents worked the roadside attraction while living in an apartment upstairs, until George turned it into an exclusive Italian restaurant that headlined “Pizza Pie” in 1949. Well it turned into a real sensation, especially with the soldiers back from the war, stationed at Fort Meade.

Helen, being the artsy bohemian, decorated the restaurant over the years into a New York Italian style bistro complete with checkered tablecloths and Chianti bottles dripping with candle wax on every table. She would go to all the auctions during the early ‘60’s when downtown Baltimore was being razed and bought up places like the famous Miller Brothers restaurant and the Valencia Theater down to the lighting, seats and carpet on the floor for pennies on the dollar.

In 1961, Helen and George purchased the Oak Hill estate in Waterloo. I say Helen first because she had to have it. The estate consisted of nine acres, a stone telescoping house with a five car garage, and above all a thirty seven room Victorian mansion which Helen decorated room after room with the antiques that she purchased. She leased space to other antique dealers and twice a year would hold an auction with dealers coming from as far away as New York; antiques went through the back door and were sold out the front door making the buyers think they were property of Victorian mansion. It was a glorious time to be alive.

Unfortunately, in 1967, the dream came to an end. In June of that year, the stone house that we lived in was gutted by fire. The following year, 1968, the State of Maryland claimed the restaurant property for access to the new I-95 highway. In October of that year the Victorian mansion caught fire and burned to the ground with all the relics inside.

George and Helen, along with their three youngest sons, Basil, Nick, and George moved to Annapolis to help Helen’s brother John open a new restaurant called the “Galleon” on the South River. From the beginning it was a great success. It was there that George introduced bone-in Prime Rib to Annapolis.

George and Helen enjoyed contributing their time to the Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church. Whatever was asked of them they gladly donated their time and George’s cooking talents. Their oldest son, Alex, married Paula Hayes in May of 1984 at the Church, with the service conducted by Father Gallos.

In 1972, George and Helen bought the “Old Cove Inn” on Kent Island. Again, Helen with her flair for décor, did the whole place in red. As in the old days, the family lived upstairs in the rooms at the “Inn” and it wasn’t far to come to work. They operated the restaurant for ten years before selling it for a good profit and then retired.

George passed away on May 7th, 1986. Helen remarried to August Conomos of Towson, MD. Helen passed away August 5th, 2003.