Laura Auld LaFoe, genealogist

August 05, 1993|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Staff Writer

Laura Auld LaFoe, a longtime Bolton Hill resident, genealogist and friend of Gov. William Donald Schaefer, died Monday of respiratory failure at the home of her nephew in Bel Air. She was 94.

It was Mrs. LaFoe's fascination with her ancestors who first settled on the Eastern Shore in 1690 that led her into the field of genealogy.

"She was proud that she taught herself how to do it," recalled a cousin. "She knew how to look for records in old churches and county seats as well as in City Hall and had great fun doing it."

She was descended from the Auld family of Talbot County. James Auld settled there in 1690 on 1,000 acres of land near St. Michaels that he named Newport Glasgow in honor of his home in Scotland, Port Glasgow.

Her great-great-grandfather, Colonel Hugh Auld, was second in command to General Perry Benson at the Battle of St. Michaels during the War of 1812.

The Auld family operated the famous Fells Point shipyard, Auld & Spencer on Thames Street.

Mrs. LaFoe was the daughter of John Summerfield Deale Auld, a mechanical engineer who lived in the 1600 block of Park Ave. Following the death of her mother in 1912, she was sent to Staten Island, N.Y., where she was reared by an aunt.

She began her education in the Baltimore public schools but was mostly self-educated, according to a family member.

During the 1930s, Mrs. LaFoe worked for U.S. Rep. Carl Vinson, the late Georgia Democrat.

Early in World War II, she worked in a brokerage house in New York, and she later worked for the U.S. Maritime Administration. In the 1950s, she worked on board cruise ships as an assistant cruise director.

In 1967, she was appointed to a patronage job as a clerk to the Baltimore City Council. She was also active in Democratic politics and was an election judge in Bolton Hill.

"Mrs. LaFoe worked for me as a volunteer for years," recalled Mr. Schaefer. The governor said she was "a good friend; every year, she sent me a birthday cake; she never forgot."

She also presented him with an antique brass spittoon, which he keeps by the door in his office.

"She was one of Bolton Hill's great characters," said Julian L. Lapides, her lawyer and longtime friend. "

She was a member for over 50 years of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was a state regent of the Daughters of American Colonists and a member of the Eastern Shore Society and the Maryland Historical Society. She was also a member of Wesley United Methodist Church on South Highland Avenue.

After two unsuccessful marriages, Mrs. LaFoe in 1948 married John LaFoe, a merchant marine officer who died in 1951.

Services were to be held at 11 a.m. today at the Hartley Miller Funeral Home, 7527 Harford Road, Baltimore. Mrs. LaFoe is to be buried in Green Mount Cemetery.

She is survived by several cousins in addition to her nephew.

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