Obituary of Katherine Tinios

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Katherine "Kay" (Harritos) Tinios

March 2, 1020 - April 17, 2014

The Hampton Union , April 22, 2014

Kay tinios HAMPTON — On Thursday, April 17, 2014, Kay Tinios, founding owner and longtime manager of the Galley Hatch Restaurant in Hampton, died at the age of 94.

Kay was born Katherine Harritos in Dover on March 2, 1920, to Steve and Lefkey Harritos, Greek immigrants of modest means who came to the United States roughly a century ago. Both of her parents had to work long hours in the mills in order for the family to get by. Her sister Christine, although a year older than her, struggled with childhood illness and Kay, as a result, assumed the role of leader and caretaker among the family's four children at a young age. She learned to cook, tell time, and act as an interpreter for her parents before she had finished kindergarten. She never resented having had to grow up so fast and credited her drive, independence, work ethic and sense of familial duty to the experience.

Kay's early life in Dover is where her passion for hospitality began as well. She idolized her mother, Lefkey, whom she always described as a consummate hostess. No matter how little the family may have had, Lefkey was always cooking food for neighbors who had even less. Everyone knew they were welcome in the Harritos household and would come from Rochester and Somersworth to hear Lefkey tell stories and read their fortunes from the grounds left in their coffee cups. Kay often said that there are two kinds of people in the world, hosts and guests, and that she learned from her mother that to be the former was the most rewarding. When she finished high school, Kay took a job waiting tables at Derris Tea Room in downtown Dover, where she first learned the old school tenets of customer service and professionalism.

In 1944, Kay left Derris Tea Room to take a job as a welder at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard because, as she said, "it was the patriotic thing to do." When World War II ended, she held jobs with Public Service of New Hampshire and Norton Air Force Base and quickly rose to management positions in both places.

In 1953, she moved to California with her fiance, Mike Tinios, where they married and had their son, John. In 1958, the family moved back to Dover, bought a hot dog truck, and eventually opened a small drive-in restaurant in Portsmouth that they named the Dinnerhorn with Kay's sister, Christine, and her husband, Chris. Throughout the 1960s, they also owned a sister restaurant in Durham called the Little Horn with Kay's sister, Helen, and her husband, Jim.

After owning and operating the Dinnerhorn and Little Horn for 10 years, Kay and Mike sold the business to Kay's sisters and their husbands and bought a small takeout restaurant [The Mustard Pot] on the corner of Route 1 and Winnacunnet Road in Hampton. Savory Square [also called Savory Street] opened for business on July 6, 1970. They changed the name of the place to the Galley Hatch about a year later. When John finished high school in 1973, Kay and Mike moved to Bride Hill and became full-fledged members of the Hampton community, meanwhile expanding the building and menu throughout the next two decades.

Current and former staff members who worked at the Galley Hatch under Kay remember her as a tough but fair boss who took great pride in every aspect of the restaurant. Her expectations were clear, they say, and as long as you followed the rules, you got along just fine. Even though business was business to Kay, she still cared tremendously about her employees. One waitress remembered that "when the going got tough, she was very compassionate." Kay estimated that over the years she had probably been to more than a hundred weddings, funerals, and baby showers for people who worked at the Galley Hatch.

Customers who frequented the Galley Hatch in the old days invariably describe her as "gracious" and remember her standing at the hostess station to greet everyone who walked through the door. Kay continued to be a significant presence even after she finally retired at age 86. She would frequently make her rounds in the dining rooms and hold court at the end of the bar to catch up with everyone she had gotten to know over the years and to reminisce. To the very end, she loved to entertain and make people laugh.

Family was everything to Kay and it was clear that what compelled her in nearly everything she did was her sense of responsibility to care for those she loved. She worked hard to ensure the security and well-being of her relatives in open and subtle ways and never asked for anything in return. She adored her granddaughters, nieces and nephews and always spoke proudly of her only son, John. Even when John was well into his 50s, Kay would often point to him and remark, "isn't he adorable?"

Kay will be long remembered throughout the Seacoast for her hospitality, her generosity and her sense of humor.

Kay is survived by her son, John; her granddaughters, Jessica and Elena; her sister, Helen Boyatsis; her nephews, Paul Kamakas, Steve Boyatsis and Phil Boyatsis; and her niece, Judy Kamakas Pingree.

She was predeceased by her husband, Mike; her sister, Christine Kamakas; and her brother, James Harritos.

SERVICES: Visiting hours will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, April 27, at the Remick & Gendron Funeral Home-Crematory, 811 Lafayette Road, Hampton. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, April 28, at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 93 Locust St., Dover. Burial will follow in Annunciation Cemetery, Dover.

The Tinios family has been a staple in our Hampton community for some 45 years. Beautification, community growth and future development can only further enhance our beloved downtown. In a gesture of kind remembrance for Kay, contributions may be directed to: Experience Hampton, the 2020 Capitol Investment Fund, P.O. Box 1259, Hampton, NH 03843. Your generosity will help make our special place even more beautiful and, through this expression, our "Kay-mmunity" will truly begin with Kay!

Galley Hatch founder Tinios cherished for generous spirit, love of community

By Kyle Stucker

Hampton Union , April 22, 2014

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON — Making money was a secondary concern to longtime Hampton restaurateur Katherine "Kay" Tinios.

Tinios did all she could to ensure the Galley Hatch was highly successful and profitable after she and her husband, Michael, opened it in 1970, but loved ones and regulars said she tried even harder to make sure all of her customers knew how much she cared for them and appreciated them.

"She was just in her glory whenever she was in that restaurant," said Jessica Tinios, Kay's granddaughter and the third generation of Tinioses at the downtown Hampton restaurant. "It was so great to see how much she loved everyone there and just how much her customers meant to her. ... Obviously she was in the business to make a living, and she could've done anything, but she got into hospitality because she loved people. To have people love her, she cared about that more than making money."

Kay Tinios died Thursday at the age of 94. Many a glass was raised skyward in the Galley Hatch Friday as regulars and staff shared stories and memories about their favorite restaurant matriarch, who still made regular appearances at the business even after her retirement eight years ago.

Born March 2, 1920, the Dover native was always at the center of the social scene, according to her son, John, the current owner of the Galley Hatch. John said his mother was "all about family and community" and from a young age would help her parents throw parties and cook large meals for the neighborhood.

"It made a big impact on her," said John.

After excelling through school and getting recruited by one of the most prestigious restaurants in the Garrison City, Kay Tinios served as a welder in World War II and became the first woman promoted to management in her field at the Air Force base at which she worked before starting the Dinnerhorn in Portsmouth in the 1960s.

The Tinios family moved to Hampton in 1970, taking what used to be the Mustard Pot and turning it into what would become the Galley Hatch. "Mrs. Hospitality," which is a term John said describes his mother well, quickly became intertwined with the community — not only because of her business sense, but also because "she was a character in every sense of the word."

"She had a sense of humor that would knock you out," said John. "It just came natural to her."

Tinios was honored with the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 for everything she did in more than 50 years in the Seacoast restaurant realm. Tinios said, after receiving the award, that the "most wonderful thing" about the business "is the people."

"I love my family and my employees. When people come up to me and say 'you have the best people working for you,' I say 'goodness starts at the top,'" said Tinios.

The "entertainer" also did "a lot of generous things that nobody would ever know about," according to John. One thing that many did notice, though, said Jessica Tinios, was her outward personality and her penchant for being "such a shameless flirt."

Jessica said that quality was one of her "favorite things" about her grandmother because it was "illustrative of her youthful spark," which is something Jessica said she had until her passing.

"She just kind of had this energy about her," said Jessica, who used to take her grandmother to the Galley Hatch for dinner at least once a week. "She never saw herself as this old lady no matter how old she got. Right until the end, she had this puckishness and glimmer to her."

Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce President Doc Noel said Tinios was a "stalwart" in the community and a "great businessperson." The two had known each other since the 1960s when Tinios lived across the street from one of Noel's Dover supermarkets, and even then he said the "well, well respected woman" had "very demanding but fair" standards.

"I can't say enough about her," said Noel. "She was a wonderful, wonderful woman."

John Tinios said Friday was "bittersweet" at the Galley Hatch, although he said he and regulars know Kay is now "in a better place."

Jessica said one thing that has helped her is the number of individuals who have asked her about her grandmother and told her stories, as well as the "honor" of being the individual who will write her obituary.

"I'm really flattered that she trusted me to tell her story," said Jessica. "I hope I do her justice. I don't know that anyone really could. She was a very unique person and there's a lot to say about her."

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