A Junior’s Grill Legend Says ‘Farewell’ to Tech
If your favorite order is a baked sweet potato and fried okra, she’s the type of lady who will make sure it’s on the table waiting when you walk in the door.
She’s also the type of lady who will offer up a homemade loaf of bread or a bit of advice to someone who is feeling a little homesick or just having a bad day.
This lady is Anne Pamfilis, known to most on campus as “Miss Anne,” and in December she retired from Junior’s Grill after 33 years of service.
“My favorite part of the job was the interaction,” said Anne, who is 81 years young. “I’d share my stories and advise them [the customers]. I was on my feet all day long, but it didn’t bother me.”
Anne began working at Junior’s in the 1970s, when Tommy Klemis, her nephew who owns the business, offered her a job. From that point on, Anne became a fixture at the grill.
“Miss Anne has been my best story source; she knows everyone and everything on campus,” said Kim Link-Wills of the Alumni Association. “I wish we could have had her on the Alumni Magazine staff.”
According to Sandi Bramblett of Institutional Research and Planning, 166,893 students have taken classes at Tech since 1974.
“My educated guess is that Anne served at least 90 percent of them,” she added.
Of course, Anne had her regular customers including the group that always came in for coffee or the customer who would bring her fig preserves. When she had an operation on her knee, some even brought in remedies to help ease her pain.
“They were my family,” Anne said.
And Anne’s customers were just as sentimental about her.
“When I was expecting my first son, she made sure that I had a baked sweet potato and fried okra whenever I walked through the door,” Bramblett said. “And she always remembered that my husband and I had our first date at Junior’s, and without fail, would tell each of us how lucky we are to have found each other.”
Amelia Gambino of Communications and Marketing appreciates the impact that Anne had on her husband while he was a student at Tech.
“I’m grateful to Anne for teaching my husband to find his way around a kitchen,” she said. “He worked at Junior’s when he was a student at Tech in the 1970s and learned all about cleaning and cooking.”
But Anne’s nephew may be the most grateful for her time at Junior’s.
“My aunt has always been a listener and encourager regarding anything I needed to share about work or family,” Klemis said. “Although I’ll still be able to tap her wisdom at family get-togethers, I’ll miss her daily presence and assurance that the day’s challenges will turn out OK.”
Although Anne is still adjusting to retirement, she has kept busy with chores around her Sandy Springs home and getting reacquainted with her neighbors. She’s also looking forward to playing bridge, spending time with family and volunteering.
“I’ve got so much to be thankful for,” Anne said. “What else would I want?”
Well, Anne, the Tech community is thankful, too, and perhaps Billiee Pendleton-Parker of the Student Success Center put it best:
“A day without Miss Anne is a day without a genuinely warm greeting, a nugget of Tech news, sincere laughter and cordial caring,” she said. “Anne will be sorely missed, and Tech is a better place because she was here.”