13 entries
  • "I remember Uncle Maurice on Halloween playing Dracula, and..."
    - Sharon Gardiner
  • "Quite a guy! Never realized he was so talented. I met him..."
    - Jeff Page
  • "I am sorry to hear Mr. Coja has passed. I wish comfort and..."
    - Lisa Colletti
  • "Heart felt gratitude for all the conversations and wisdom..."
    - Brian Ives
  • "HE ONLY TAKES THE BEST God saw he was getting tired And a..."
    - Cathy Martinoli
The Guest Book is expired.

COJA MAURICE FELIX COJA Brickskeller Founder August 17, 1931 ~ April 28, 2015 Maurice Coja, 83, former owner of the Brickskeller Inn and Marifex Hotel, in Washington, DC passed away in Sarasota, FL on April 28, 2015 of heart-related problems. He was born August 17, 1931 and lived in Deale, MD and Sarasota, FL. Maurice and his father Felix founded the Brickskeller and the Marifex Hotel in 1957. After a few years, Maurice took over full management of the hotel and created the down-home saloon image for the Brickskeller. An outstanding businessman, he was a marketing genius. He understood trends, public behavior, and continually re-shaped the Brickskeller to meet its patrons' ever-changing tastes. With 1,032 choices of bottled beer on the beer list, the Brickskeller is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as 'the bar with the largest selection of commercially available beers.' The Brickskeller played host to local and foreign dignitaries as well as actors and musicians. Maurice offered such innovations as beer tastings long before wine tastings became fashionable. He was also an excellent cook. He reveled in the dishes he created. Food was in his blood as his father was a chef from the French Island of Corsica with a family background in haute cuisine. A well-read intellect, Maurice enjoyed lively conversations on any topic presented. He often took an opposing point of view, though it may not have been his own, in order to stimulate a conversation. With his father, he built the house he called home, introducing new features for better and improved function before other builders even thought of them. In 1966, the entrepreneurial father-son team patented a computerized bar machine that automatically served mixed drinks as well as straight shots, competing with companies such as NCR. Because he and his father were masters at electrical, plumbing, and carpentry work, they manufactured their own machines. He believed strongly that everyone should stand on their own feet, but also recognized that sometimes people need a hand to get there. He hired former prisoners, helping them get a fresh start and reenter society as productive citizens. Maurice was an avid supporter of the Children's National Health System, Children's Hospital of Washington, DC. In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the Children's National Health System, 111 Michigan Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20010. Maurice was predeceased by his first wife, June Coja, in 1998. He is survived by his wife, Patricia; his daughter, Diane; his step-daughter, Brenda; three grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and two step-great-grandchildren. A memorial service celebrating Maurice will be held Saturday, May 23 at 1 p.m. at St. James Parish, 5757 Solomons Island Rd., Lothian, MD 20711 (410-867-2838).

Published in The Washington Post on May 17, 2015
Give others a chance to express condolences. Not right now.