Annapolis Greek Heritage

Preserving the Legacy of Greek-Americans in the Annapolis Area

Siomporas: Theodore and Linda

Theodore Siomporas, named after his grandfather Theodore Samaras, was known to most Annapolitans as “Teddy” or “Ted”.

Teddy grew up in the Siomporas house located behind the S&S Restaurant at 1803 West Street.  He would play outside all day long, with skin that was much darker than his playmates.  Teddy had one major assignment as a pre-schooler: be on the lookout for buses pulling into the parking lot of the S&S Restaurant.  West Street in the 1950s had been US 50 – the major gateway into Annapolis.  The S&S was the first restaurant encountered by  buses coming into Annapolis from New York/Baltimore/DC, unloading scores of hungry passengers for a quick luncheon before continuing their journeys into the crowded streets of downtown Annapolis.  Ted’s Mom, Evangeline, would don a waitress uniform to help provide waitress service to the hungry patrons in the rapidly filling booths.

One event for little Teddy was out of the ordinary: On October 30, 1953, mother Evangeline pulled 7-year old Teddy out of his Germantown Elementary School 2nd Grade pre-Halloween party, where Teddy was dressed in an embarrassing outfit: the skirt of the Greek Evzone palace guards. Unbeknown to him, Teddy was being driven to join a crowd outside of the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel, where King Paul and Queen Frederica of Greece, on a US tour, came to Annapolis to lay a wreath at the crypt of John Paul Jones. The King and Queen had been given formal military honors, with 21 gun salutes. (Annapolis Greek-American Joyce Characklis, an administrator at the Naval Academy, played a large role in producing this event).

As the King and Queen exited the Chapel into the courtyard, Evangeline prodded little Teddy to duck under the outstretched arms of the U.S. Secret Service patrol to briskly walk up to the King and Queen. In the process, the hat came off Teddy’s head. Queen Frederica gracefully knelt down to pick up the hat to place it back on Teddy’s head, stimulating a flurry of bright light bulbs from press photographers, temporarily blinding Teddy.
However, following his Mother’s orders, Teddy outstretched his arm towards King Paul, who responded with a royal handshake.

Teddy was a “Baby Boomer” who grew up in the typical manner for an Annapolis area first generation Greek-American boy: boating, fishing, crabbing, water-skiing, Chesapeake Bay beaches, Ocean City, Annapolis High School, YMCA basketball, Head Altar Boy, Greek School, Sunday School, Junior GOYA, Kalanda (Greek Christmas caroling), sports car (Austin Healy Sprite) and USNA,  Baltimore Colts and Orioles games. When “occasionally” hooking school, Ted could be found at: Chris’ or Pete’s pool hall, day trips to Baltimore or DC, or in poker games.

Throughout the years his years in Annapolis schools, Ted maintained close friendships with other 2nd generation Greek-American children.   Growing up in a female-oriented family (8 first cousins and siblings, none of them boys), Ted gravitated to the boys of the extended Samaras family (2nd cousins), Tommy Kallis, and John Pantelides. His only playmate outside of school was his athletic little Sister Joanne.

In his senior year at the University of Maryland, while “tray sliding” on “borrowed” dining hall trays, Ted met his future bride Linda Hall, when he “accidentally” caused the spill of a train of a dozen students riding trays down a hill at the University of Maryland Golf Course during a major snowstorm. Because Linda sprained her knee in the tumble, Ted slung her over his shoulder to carry her across the empty University Boulevard, which had been closed due to the strong late November 1967 snowstorm, back to her dorm. Linda was a Navy Junior – her father having fought at Pearl Harbor – born in New Orleans and spending her childhood moving up and down the East Coast from Maryland to Massachusetts. A whirlwind romance followed, leading to their engagement three months later.
During their engagement, 19 year-old Linda, as a ξένη (foreigner, or outsider) seeking acceptance by the Siomporas/Samaras Greek immigrant extended family, focused on learning many of the Greek-American traditions brought by the immigrants. One of these was the consumption of μαγειρίτσα (mageritsa) soup to start the meal of the Ανάσταση (i.e. Anastasi or Resurrection), held at 2 am April 21, 1968, immediately after the end of the midnight Ανάσταση church service, thereby observing the tradition of breaking the Lenten fast, as described by Linda five decades later:
Linda describes eating mageritsa soup

During their engagement, Ted took Linda around Annapolis to introduce his fiancee to his Greek-American friends and their families.  One of Ted’s longest-standing friends was Johnny Pantelides, whose father Savvas operated the Royal restaurant downtown.  John recalls Linda’s introduction to Savvas in this video clip of his “roast” from Ted and Linda’s 50th anniversary party, held in 2018:

Johnny Pantelides tale of Savvas Pantelides at the Royal Restaurant
Ted and Linda married on August 25, 1968, the hottest August 25th on record at 98 degrees – coupled with Maryland’s brutal humidity. After the morning Divine Liturgy, Ted opened all the windows in Sts. Constantine and Helen Church, to allow heavy air to vent before the wedding. Unfortunately, someone else came behind him to shut the windows, resulting in oppressive heat. Discovering this just shortly prior to the wedding, Ted re-opened the windows, but, coupled with the heat of traditional church candles used in the Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony (one of which briefly caused Linda’s veil to burn), the damage was done. Father Paul sped through prayers and the Dance of Isaiah was performed quickly, to result in an unusually shorter wedding ceremony, to escape the heat.
Ted and Linda’s wedding

What followed was over five decades of a successful partnership between Ted and Linda, with the highlight of their lives being their four children (Anastasia, Angela, Richard, and Alexandra), and nine grandchildren, most of whom live in or near the Annapolis area.  All daughters were married, and many grandchildren were baptized, in Greek Orthodox churches, mostly at Sts. Constantine and Helen Church in Annapolis.  Members of the extended family have been involved in community affairs including teaching or being taught in Sunday School and Greek School, Christmas pageants, Greek Festivals, and Greek Folk dancing.  Daughter Alexandra exhibited coolness in not reacting to the loss of her kerchief in this video clip from the 1992 Greek Folk Dance:

Greek Folk Dance Festival 1992

Ted and his family moved due to career opportunities.  Leaving their house in Hillsmere, across the street from Ted’s Dad & Mom’s and Sister’s houses,  they moved to and from Annapolis to New Orleans, to Crofton, to Huntsville Alabama, and back to Crofton, where they settled down for four decades.  Linda stayed at home to raise the four children, then subsequently returned to college to complete graduate work leading to licensure as a professional counselor; she practiced for 15 years before retiring.  Ted ran contracting programs for NASA and the Department of Energy, including:

  • Tracking and Relay Satellite System
  • Renewable Energy program, including establishing the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Hubble Space Telescope
  • Spacelab
  • Space Shuttle Propulsion (Solid Rocket Booster, Main Engine, External Tank) 

Since 1994, Ted has been a part-time consultant to industry, for Government contracting matters.  (Linda describes his job as being a “Government contracting pontificator”).  Ted also did some government contracting consulting work alongside old Annapolis Greek-American pals Ted Samaras and Nick Pantelides.  In 2014, when Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides (Johnny’s son) tapped Ted to lead the City of Annapolis’ quest for a privately funded Renewable Energy Park, explained to the Annapolis City Council by Ted in this video:

Ted Siomporas explains renewable energy park to City Council

Ted, Linda, and family have enjoyed the living along the Chesapeake Bay, having cruised its waters along both the Eastern and Western Shores for the better part of five decades, including many day trips to ports along the Bay and many overnights.  Add camping in the Appalachian and Rocky mountains, frequently visiting historical sites from Boston to Charleston and Linda’s birthplace of New Orleans, a dozen vacations in Yellowstone Park, and many other trips along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to Baja California, western Europe from Greece to Ireland, and cruises to the Caribbean and Atlantic & Pacific seacoasts.  Ted and Linda were season ticket holders for over three decades in support of the Baltimore Colts and Ravens, and Navy, plus hundreds of Orioles games, including both Ravens Super Bowls and many Orioles World Series games.  A favorite hobby has been going on Ravens road trips to most of the NFL stadiums and many away Orioles games.

We live the Good Life near Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay. We enjoy our friends, gardening, boating, cruises, traveling, and being “retired”.  The highlight of our lives continues to be our children and, especially, our nine grandchildren: there is no greater joy than hearing them call me “Papou”.

Photo Gallery

Joe Bellino visits the Samaras home for Thanksgiving Dinner

by Ted Siomporas

Anna Samaras was the executive secretary in the Office of the Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy.

Joseph Bellino, the star halfback for United States Naval Academy football, won the 1960 Heisman Trophy – the highest award for NCAA football, which at that time was as popular as the NFL is today. Joe was nationally famous, having made television appearances and many magazine articles in the Naval Academy’s marketing pitch in its endeavor for Joe to win the coveted Heisman Trophy. In a “Life” Magazine article, the focus was placed on Joe’s short and stout build by including a photo of the measuring of the circumference of Joe’s 18” calves. Life Magazine in the 1950s-60s was a one of the most read national publications – described in this Annapolis Evening Capital article as “whose calves were as thick as some men’s thighs” and in this Sports Illustrated article as “with a football in his hands and the bulging, muscular posts that serve him as legs drumming down a football field, Joe Bellino becomes something special”

Joe, whose football notoriety helped enhance the public image of the United States Naval Academy, was a frequent visitor to the Office of the Superintendent. Due to the pending Army-Navy game, coupled with Navy being one of the highest ranked NCAA teams, seeking the national title, Joe was stuck in Annapolis for Thanksgiving, 1960, unable to get home to Massachusetts. Anna Samaras, talking with Joe in the lobby of the Office of the Superintendent, learned of his plight and offered Joe a plate at the table for Thanksgiving Dinner. Anna told Joe that she had a brother (Nick) and a nephew (Ted) who were big Navy football fans, who would enjoy meeting him. Joe accepted the invitation.
After dinner, we had mild banter about the Life magazine article and the medias’a focus on his legs, particularly the tape measuring. Someone made a challenge to Joe that athletic stockily-built Ted Siomporas had calves which should also appear in Life Magazine. A “tape-off” contest was held: Ted’s calves were only ½ inch less than Joe’s calves. Following are after-dinner photos of the event, including Nick Samaras’ brother-in-law Gus Leanos (another big Navy football fan):