Miriam Morrison Patterson, a teacher, nurse and general store owner, died July 4 of heart failure at Manor Care Ruxton. She was 92.
She was a resident of Sweet Air, where she moved after her marriage in 1923 to William B. Patterson. The couple operated Patterson's General Store at the intersection of Sweet Air and Manor roads for many years. Her husband died in 1979.
"The country store in those days was the community center," recalled Richard M. Patterson, her son. "The basement was the headquarters of the local savings and loan association, and there were horseshoe pitching contests there on Saturday nights as well."
However, as the Depression deepened, it had its effect on the store. "My parents carried many people on their ledgers who couldn't afford to buy things. They helped people who came to the door looking for work and food," Mr. Patterson said. "It was a difficult time, but the community pulled together." After the store closed in the mid-1930s, a casualty of the Depression, Mrs. Patterson operated a day school.
After she closed the school she became a private duty nurse, often working with wealthy families in Princeton, N.J., and Palm Beach, Fla.
Born in Somerset, Pa., near Johnstown, she was the daughter of Ward Morrison, who owned a music store, and Estella Morrison. She received her early education in local schools and was a 1918 graduate of Delta High School in Delta, Pa., and a 1920 graduate of Juniata College. She continued her education in 1921, when she entered nurses' training at Union Memorial Hospital and, following her graduation, taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Harford County.
She was known as the unofficial "mayor of Sweet Air" and was a community activist. Her activism reached its zenith in 1983, when she was successful in getting a traffic signal placed at the intersection of Sweet Air and Manor roads with the aid of state Del. Ellen R. Sauerbrey, R-Baltimore County. She enjoyed a moment of triumph when she was allowed to throw the switch that inaugurated its operation.
She is survived by a daughter, Lenore Patterson Hall of Arlington, Va.; eight grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service is to be conducted at 3 p.m. today at St. James Episcopal Church, 3101 Monkton Road, Monkton. Private services were held July 5 at St. James Episcopal Church, My Lady's Manor in Baltimore County.
The family suggested donations to St. James Episcopal Church, 3100 Monkton Road, Monkton 21111.