Mary Ellen Kansler, at the age of 100

June 13, 1991

Mary Ellen Kansler, a 100-year-old native Baltimorean who played the piano for silent movies, died Sunday at St. Joseph Hospital of complications of diabetes.

A mass of Christian burial for Mrs. Kansler, who lived on Rosalie Avenue, was being offered today at St. Thomas More Roman Catholic Church, 6806 McClean Blvd.

She was an Oriole fan, who ignored a congratulatory message from the president at her 100th birthday party last Jan. 1 in favor of an autographed picture of former Oriole pitcher Jim Palmer, the best player Mrs. Kansler said she had seen since Babe Ruth.

The former Mary Ellen Stroebel studied piano and elocution at the Institute of Notre Dame.

In 1910, she began playing in theaters, accompanying the action on the screen, a job she kept for about three years until her marriage to Matthew Cavanaugh, who died in 1917. In 1922, she married Robert C. Kansler, who died in 1981 after retiring from what is now the Baltimore Specialty Steels Corp.

She was fond of telling stories, of shopping at Howard and Lexington streets, and of attending openings of new shows at the Gayety Theater to see stars including Bob Hope and the nTC Marx Brothers when burlesque houses specialized in comedy.

She is survived by three sons, Matthew C. Cavanaugh, and Robert C. and Richard C. Kansler, all of Perry Hall; a daughter, Norma Willhide, of Parkville; 22 grandchildren; and 28 great-grandchildren.

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