Catherine Karson, 71, owned Karson's Inn on Holabird Ave.

March 22, 1996|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,SUN STAFF

Catherine Constance Cherry Karson, owner of the popular Karson's Inn on Holabird Avenue, died Tuesday of kidney failure at Good Samaritan Hospital. The Homeland resident was 71.

"She was in the eating and drinking business most of her adult life and loved to sit in her restaurant and pass the time of day with her customers and friends," said her son, George Robert Karson III of Joppatowne. "She devoted most of her spare time to the restaurant."

Born in Edgemere, Mrs. Karson graduated from Sparrows Point High School, then was a secretary at Glenn L. Martin Co. in Middle River from 1942 to 1944, the year she married George Robert Karson.

When her husband returned from World War II in 1946, the couple reopened Karson's Bar at 4706 Holabird Ave., which had been closed for several years after his father's death. Mrs. Karson was a waitress there.

In 1950, the couple purchased property in the 5100 block of Holabird Ave. and opened Karson's Inn, which then could seat about 50 diners. Today, the restaurant seats 250 to 300 diners.

Karson's is known for its food and service, and reviewer wrote that the members of the restaurant's staff "have the ability to get hot food to the table while it's still hot."

A September 1988 edition of the newspaper's Dining Guide said, "It's the kind of place that serves a cherry with a glass of Coke."

George Karson III, who once worked at the restaurant, said many famous people dined there, including Ernest Hemingway, whose favorite meal was stuffed soft crab.

He said that when his mother wanted an intimate dining section in the restaurant, his father, who died in 1984, built the Swiss Chalet Room.

Mrs. Karson was a member of the National Restaurant Association.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. today at the Sacred Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church, 6736 Youngstown Ave. in Dundalk.

Other survivors include two daughters, Sharon Simon of North ++ Potomac and Susan Karson of Ocean Pines; a brother, Benjamin Cherry of New Freedom, Pa.; a sister, Margaret Bouchillion of Freeland; five grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

Pub date: 3/22/96

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