Margaret R. Itzel, 106, formerly of Baltimore

February 05, 1994|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Sun Staff Writer

Margaret R. Itzel, a homemaker and seamstress, died Wednesday of heart failure at the Laurie Nursing Home in Laurie, Mo. She was 106.

The former resident of Cliftview Avenue in Northeast Baltimore had made her home for the past 35 years in Sunrise Beach, Mo.

She was born and reared in East Baltimore, the daughter of a barber who owned several shops here and in Atlantic City, N.J.

"As a child, she and her brothers and sisters would entertain customers by singing popular songs for a nickel," said George A. Itzel, a son who lives in Catonsville.

Mrs. Itzel attended city schools and studied voice for several years at the Peabody Institute, where she got to know John Charles Thomas, the Metropolitan Opera baritone who was a familiar voice on radio in the 1920s and 1930s.

After leaving school, she began working as a seamstress in 1899 and was employed in the various shirt-waistcoat factories in Baltimore's garment district near Paca and Pratt streets.

In 1913, she married George H. Itzel of Baltimore, who was a sales manager for Martin Wagner Canning Co. in Wagners Point.

"He traveled all through Georgia, Florida and Mississippi, introducing canned goods that the cannery prepared," the son said. "Canned goods were still a novelty then, and Martin Wagner canned oysters, beans and tomatoes that arrived by bugeyes from the Eastern Shore. They were pretty big truck crop canners."

The couple operated Itzel's Restaurant on Reisterstown Road in Reisterstown from 1925 until 1931, when Mr. Itzel went to work for a wholesale cigar company. He later worked in the General Accounting Office in Washington. He died in 1939.

"She used to talk about trips to Electric Park, Carlin's Park and Bayshore Park and taking all-day excursions by steamboat to Tolchester and Chesapeake Beach with a picnic lunch of gobs of fried chicken," the son said. "She also talked about the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904, which she saw from her East Baltimore home.

"She was a good baker, too, and was a good German cook," he said.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church, 3615 Harford Road, with interment in Parkwood Cemetery.

Other survivors include a daughter, Eliese I. Brown of Sunrise Beach, Mo.; 10 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

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