Gloria Aull, community activist

December 16, 1993|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Staff Writer

Gloria K. Aull, a community activist who led the battle to stop the extension of Interstate 83 through her Canton neighborhood, died Monday after a four-year struggle with cancer at her sister's home in Parkville. She was 69.

In 1969, Baltimore City announced its intention to complete the East-West Expressway, which would have created an eight-lane highway through Canton and Highlandtown. Mrs. Aull and her neighbors -- with the help of Barbara A. Mikulski, then a social worker and now a Democratic U.S. senator from Maryland -- rose in opposition and formed the Southeast Committee Against the Road (SCAR).

SCAR joined forces with Fells Point anti-highway activists and preservationists, and out of that alliance grew the Southeast Community Organization. The highway battle lasted nearly 10 years until the Fort McHenry Tunnel spared the community.

The women who joined to oppose the I-83 extension also helped Ms. Mikulski win her first elective office in 1971, a seat on the City Council.

"She was one of the founding mothers of SECO," Ms. Mikulski said of Mrs. Aull.

"She had great creative and positive abilities, and she could really bring out East Baltimore. She was equally good at stopping roads or playing pinochle," she added with a laugh.

The basement of Mrs. Aull's home in the 600 block of S. Kenwood Ave., which her immigrant grandmother from Hamburg, Germany, bought at the turn of the century with a $5 down payment, was the war room where activists met to plan strategy.

Betty Deacon, chief of staff for City Council President Mary Pat Clarke and a longtime friend of Mrs. Aull's, said: "She was feisty and very knowledgeable. She fought hard for the things she believed in and was very proud of her heritage and her Canton neighborhood.

In 1987, Mayor Clarence H. "Du" Burns appointed her to the Baltimore City Women's Commission, where she served until 1990. She was also chairman of a committee that lobbied Congress for passage of the Family Leave Act, recently signed into law by President Clinton.

"It's ironical," said her sister, Joan K. Hoffman of Parkville, with whom Mrs. Aull lived for the last several months of her life. "I took advantage of the Family Leave Law to take care of her."

The former Gloria Klingmeyer was born in Canton and reared in her grandmother's Kenwood Avenue home. She was educated in city schools and was a 1942 graduate of Patterson High School. A month ago, she was inducted into Patterson's Hall of Fame.

In 1949, she married August E. Aull, a supervisor at Continental Can, who died in 1989.

She was a part-time teller for 17 years for First National Bank, working in the Broadway branch until she retired in 1981.

Services are set for 11 a.m. tomorrow at Messiah Lutheran Church, 1025 S. Potomac St., Baltimore, with interment in Meadowridge Cemetery.

In addition to her sister, survivors include three sons, August E. "Ned" Aull III of Arnold, John R. Aull of Highlandtown and Luke A. Aull of Fairfax, Va.; a daughter, H. George Aull Shapiro of Pikesville; and seven grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to Messiah Lutheran Church or the Johns Hopkins Hospital Oncology Center.

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