Louise M. Deford, school secretary

November 29, 1992

Louise McAdams Deford, a former secretary at the Calvert School and mother of sports columnist Frank Deford, died yesterday in her apartment in Roland Park Place after suffering complications from emphysema. She was 80.

Services for Mrs. Deford, a city resident since 1936, will be held at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow . at the Church of the Redeemer chapel at North Charles St. and Melrose Avenue.

After rearing three sons, Mrs. Deford embarked on a second career when she learned how to type and began working as a secretary at their alma mater, the Calvert School, in 1961.

"Mother's favorite expression was 'push on.' Everybody that knows her will tell you that. That was the type of lady that she was. She didn't let much grass grow under her feet," said Mr. Deford.

"Mother was a very vivacious person, and literally whole classes of Calvert School kids knew her, which is very unusual for somebody who is the headmaster's secretary," he said.

Mr. Deford, one of the nation's best-known sportswriters and now an editor with Newsweek, also credits his mother with encouraging his writing career.

"I think she encouraged all of us, but she particularly encouraged me when I found out that I had an ability to write. I think a lot of mothers might not have forwarded that."

But skipping college wasn't part of that encouragement, Mr. Deford remembered.

"I was a copy boy at the Evening Sun, and I didn't want to go to college; I wanted to be a newspaperman," he said. "She put her foot down on that. She said, 'No -- don't even think about it.' "

Born in Richmond, Va., Mrs. Deford "began life as a southern belle and ended it as a feminist," her son said.

Her father, Richmond banker Thomas McAdams, sent her to board

at St. Timothy's School in Stevenson, from which she graduated in 1930. About the same time, Mr. McAdams himself came to Baltimore to take over the floundering Union Trust Co.

In 1934, the young Miss McAdams married Benjamin F. Deford, a Baltimore businessman.

He died in 1983.

Mrs. Deford was a member of the Mount Vernon Club, the Elkridge Club and the Garden Club of America.

She also volunteered for the Church of the Redeemer and at various city hospitals.

Besides Frank Deford, of Westport, Conn., she is survived by two other sons, Thomas M. Deford of Tokyo and Gill Deford of Los Angeles; and three grandchildren.

The family suggests contributions to the Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., Baltimore, Md., 21212.

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