Angeline Culfogienis Profile Photo
1936 Angeline "Cookie" Valeria Blando Culfogienis 2024

Angeline Culfogienis

July 22, 1936 — April 30, 2024

Angeline "Cookie" Valeria Blando Culfogienis, 87, - daughter, sister, student, wife, Mother, Grandmother, friend, artist, gallery owner, teacher - died peacefully on April 30, 2024 at the Charlestown Senior Center in Catonsville, MD.

Angeline was a helpful neighbor and contributor to worthy causes, organized artists groups and exhibits, including a few in which she was the star attraction. Her list of accomplishments also included illustrator, editor, designer for more than eight books and, for nine years fulfilled the same responsibilities for the monthly Air Force Reservist magazine, responsible only to that publication's subscriber-readers and CEO, General Daniel "Chappie" James, the first African American to rise to the rank of 4-star general in the U.S. Air Force.

Despite all that, along with the many awards she earned over the years, her proudest accomplishments were her two sons: Steve Culfogienis (Teri Cooney, his wife's maiden name) and Jimmy Culfogienis (Ket Phoue), both of Bowie, MD. She is also survived by her three grandchildren: Dylan Tiger Culfogienis (Maddie Telles) of Colorado, Jimmy and Ket's son; and Erin Culfogienis and Ryan Culfogienis, Steve and Teri's children who live with their parents. Angeline is also survived by her brother, Bill Blando of New Cumberland; her longtime friend, Bill Zarella of Cockeysville, MD; a sister-in-law; and a number of cousins.

Cookie was predeceased by her parents, Nunzio J. and Mary Blando of New York City; and her husband of 46 years, George Culfogienis.

Add to her list of accomplishments, Angeline was a soccer Mom, long before the phrase was fashionable, coaching the team on which her two sons played. One year she coached the team on Mothers Day - and won.

Early in life, Cookie was a child actress on the Butler Davenport Free Theatre stage in New York. She and her brother appeared in the same play, "Difference in Gods," an original by Mr. Davenport, which he'd revive every few years. Later in life she returned to the theater not as an actress but as a coordinator for Reston Theater camp for a summer.

But acting was not Angeline's life ambition - art was. And so she took classes at Washington Irving High School, Hunter College, The School for Visual Arts and later, the famed Art Students League, all in New York City. Before and between all that studying, she had a more imperative role to play: getting her husband through Georgia Tech with an engineering degree. She accomplished that by taking various freelance work, decorating windows for a large department store in Atlanta and soliciting commissions for various art projects. This allowed Angeline to pursue her dream of becoming the best and most versatile artist her talent and dedication could take her. It paid off big time; George was employed by the U.S. Government and rose through the ranks, eventually the Government inspector for projects in and around Washington, D.C.

But it wasn't all peaches and cream for Angeline, as she told Harry James Cook, a teacher at Eastern High School, Essex. MD, and part-time freelance writer, saying that she became upset with a company she was doing design work for because "they were paying men much more than they were paying me. . . . I did a better job than most of the men in the shop. . . . Consequently, I quit." Not the only time she faced discrimination against women, as she told Mr. Cook in an extensive article for a Baltimore trade publication some two decades ago. She added, "Women today don't really know what discrimination was like back then (in the 1960s). The art world was particularly prejudiced against women. Men were landing all the lucrative private and government contracts. But I always worked hard to overcome those roadblocks."

Her hard work resulted in special awards and rewards. One in particular was a first place ribbon in the League of Reston Artists show for her watercolor, "The Rage of Jimmy," with her son, as the model.

In Washington DC, Vienna, Herndon, and Reston Virginia she led and helped organize artists groups and exhibits. She taught still life and figure drawing at Northern Virginia Community College, as well as the Reston Community Center, and in her own studios. In Baltimore, she opened a small gallery on Aliceanna Street, then moved into the heart of Fells Point section with not one, but two galleries, selling gifts and not only her own art works, but those of other area artists.

Angeline was proudest of a one-woman show at the Panora Gallery in New York City and, after she sold her galleries in Fells Point, an exhibit she titled, "60 Years of My Life's Work." Actually, all told, from the time she sold her drawings as a kid in New York's Greenwich Village, it's closer to eight decades. She later had a couple of exhibits at the Charlestown facility. Angeline also found time to illustrate over eight books, including two first aid books for the Red Cross and a book titled, "We Are the Government," in which she contributed a couple hundred illustrations, most of them small which, she said, were harder to do than large illustrations.

Angeline fought a courageous battle against dementia and arthritis, and became very weak physically while her memory deserted her. But Angeline remained strong-willed and fiercely independent until her passing.

Funeral Services at Sol Levinson's Chapel, 8900 Reisterstown Road, Pikeville, MD 21208, on Thursday, May 16, 2024 at 10:15 am.

If you need to reach out to the family, please contact: Steve Culfogienis at 301-275-5860 or swcsails@gmail.com, or Jimmy Culfogienis at 703-423-9785 or cymmij@gmail.com.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Angeline Culfogienis, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Funeral Service

Thursday, May 16, 2024

10:15 - 11:15 am (Eastern time)

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