Josephine Karikas, a Hungarian doll maker and seamstress who made repairs on the American flag sewn by Betsy Ross, died Friday of a heart attack. She was 68.
Mrs. Karikas, who was born in Gyor, Hungary, came here in 1949 and later moved to Alexandria.
When Mrs. Karikas's husband died in the early 1950s, she began work with the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, where she repaired gowns worn by First Ladies and other historic clothing.
"Once she was repairing the Betsy Ross flag and there was quite an incident," recalled her daughter, Cecelia Bros. "Her English was not the very best and as she sat working on the flag she didn't notice that two men were standing next to her, on both sides, watching.
"Then she picked up a pair of scissor to make a cut, and the men jumped at her and tried to take her scissors. She said, 'No, no, no. Why don't you let me do my work.' She didn't understand that you just don't cut into the Betsy Ross flag," Mrs. Bros said.
Mrs. Karikas was a well known doll maker, and according to Mrs. Bros, every U.S. President since Dwight Eisenhower and many foreign leaders have received dolls made by her.
Mrs. Karikas is survived by her daughter and a son, Stephen J., both of Alexandria.