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Duquesne 'grammy' enjoyed cooking for gatherings at Syria Mosque

| Wednesday, April 6, 2011

When it came to cooking for four family members or 5,000 guests, Grammy Sabol preferred the guests.

"Cooking for my father, my brother and myself was a bit uneventful for my mother," said her daughter, Denise Smolec of Monessen.

"My mother was at her best when she was supervising a large kitchen staff preparing for a Masonic banquet at the former Syria Mosque in Oakland or a Masonic stag picnic at Kennywood Park."

Ellen W. "Grammy" Sabol of Duquesne, former manager of the B&S Lounge in Monessen, died Monday, April 4, 2011, at home. She was 85.

"When I was 16, I went with her to one of the banquets she was helping to supervise at the Syria Mosque, where she had me washing dishes," said her daughter.

"I couldn't help but be impressed as I watched her walking around the huge kitchen checking on the cooking of hundreds and hundreds of turkeys and sampling the large vats of mashed potatoes."

Mrs. Sabol's indoctrination in cooking began in the Novosedliak home in Duquesne, where her father, John, had his butcher shop and her mother, Johanna, did the cooking for the family.

After graduation from Duquesne High School in 1943, where she played basketball and was a member of the school chorus, she operated a jackhammer at the Westinghouse Electric plant in East Pittsburgh for the duration of World War II.

She married Cyril J. Sabol, a World War II veteran, and began her cooking career with Speedy's Catering in Monessen, where she remained until her daughter and son-in-law opened the B&S Lounge in Monessen in 1976, which she managed.

"My mother was with us for 20 years," Smolec said. "She also cooked, waited on tables and even worked behind the bar when needed."

Some esteemed guests tasted Mrs. Sabol's fare over the years, including President Ronald Reagan.

"He was the guest of honor at a Republican fundraiser at the Mosque," her daughter said. "It was a $100-a-plate affair and Mom couldn't get over that anyone would pay that much money for a dinner."

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Sabol is survived by a son, Cyril J. Sabol Jr. of Duquesne; four grandchildren, Danielle Hans, Cyril Sabol III, Michelle Sabol and Nico Smolec; and four great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband in 1995; brothers, John and Joseph Novosedliak; and sisters, Ruth Varga and Anna Robis.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today at the Maloy-Schleifer Funeral Home, 915 Kennedy Ave., Duquesne.

Additional visitation will be from 11 a.m. until noon Thursday in Christ Lutheran Church in Duquesne, where she was a member. A funeral service will follow at noon with the Rev. John Gropp officiating.

Interment will be in McKeesport-Versailles Cemetery, McKeesport.

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