Cudmore: Amsterdam native Betty Balevic was proud of her Greek roots


Betty Vasiliki Svolos Balevic of Schenectady was proud of her Greek heritage.

Born in Amsterdam during the Great Depression, Balevic died last month at the age of 90. She was a retired business professor at Skidmore College.

Her parents, Marika and Thomas Svolos, were Greek immigrants who, with other family members, owned The Boston Candy Kitchen in downtown Amsterdam. In 1925 the Svolos family was operating three downtown candy stores in Amsterdam, including one called the chocolate shop.

Their longest lasting and best known location was at 91 East Main St. adjacent to Lurie’s department store near the corner of Walnut Street. There they were especially known for their tasty hot fudge sauce.

In Recorder ads in the 1920s the Boston Candy Kitchen announced they were making homemade candy and also had a shop in Canajoharie. Eventually there was a confectionery in Gloversville operated by other family members.

Thomas Svolos, who had migrated to Amsterdam from Greece in 1910, crossed the ocean in the 1920s for a European tour. The Recorder reported that he returned to Amsterdam on September 27, 1927 “bringing with him his bride, formerly Miss Mary (Marika) Marinakos of Athens, Greece.”

Betty was born a few years later. She had a brother Marinos Svolos, who became an attorney in Baltimore, Maryland.

According to Betty’s obituary, “She had many fond memories of visiting and working in the restaurant with her father and her uncles. The experience left her with a lifelong sweet tooth and a fondness for peanut brittle.”  

The Boston Candy Kitchen was a proper restaurant, serving lunches. They advertised in 1926 that “Every meal a pleasant memory.”

Betty’s father Thomas Svolos died in 1966, two years after retiring from the business he and his brother Angelo had operated. Thomas was living on Lincoln Avenue in Amsterdam at the time of his death and was buried at Fairview Cemetery in Amsterdam, where Betty’s remains also will be interred.

In 1958, Betty married John Balevic and settled in Rotterdam where they raised their family of four. John predeceased her. She had nine grandchildren.

A graduate of Syracuse University and SUNY Albany, Betty worked in retail management at Montgomery Ward and began a long teaching career at Albany Business College, Empire State College and St. Rose Graduate School of Management.

She was a professor and frequent business department chair at Skidmore College for 41 years until her retirement at the age of 80.

She also worked for 20 years in Skidmore’s University Without Walls teaching at Comstock Maximum Security Prison.

The family requests any remembrances be made in her memory to the Alzheimer’s Association at


Stephen Sanford turned 80 years old when honored May 26, 1906, at an Amsterdam Board of Trade testimonial dinner.

Sanford, who had earned a fortune as a carpet manufacturer, was the city’s most prominent industrialist. In 1907 the Board of Trade printed a copy of Sanford’s speech.

 Sanford said one influence on his life was his acquaintance with the workers in the factory. Before going into management at his father’s carpet mill, he worked for five years in various departments.

He advised his audience to enjoy life, “Don’t expect some future day to bring success or pleasure, but take it as it comes, take it on the wing; find it as it comes and enjoy it as it comes.”

Sanford followed such advice from his doctor in the 1870s who encouraged him to buy a farm to take his mind off his mills. Sanford’s horse farm became a 1,000-acre spread dedicated to raising and racing thoroughbred horses.


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