Loretta M. Light could not resist the chance to help someone. She couldn't pass up a shot to make others laugh. The opportunity to brighten a day was simply irresistible.
A volunteer at Union Memorial Hospital and past president of its women's auxiliary, Mrs. Light, 71, died of cancer Wednesday at Good Samaritan Hospital. She had been doing her volunteer work as recently as two weeks ago. "She was always smiling and always wanting to help people," said Helen Szymkowiak, a fellow volunteer at Union Memorial. "She helped oodles of people."
If she wasn't feeling well, she probably wouldn't have let others know.
"She was always so upbeat, the one you looked to for strength. I can't imagine her being sick or not coming to the hospital," said Carole Weyland, who worked with Mrs. Light in the late 1980s.
As a member of the auxiliary, which does charity work at the hospital, Mrs. Light organized many fund-raisers, including Union Memorial's yearly Winter Lights Festival, and worked in the hospital coffee shop.
She recently was elected vicepresident of the Maryland Auxiliary Hospital Association, a statewide organization of hospital volunteers.
Mrs. Light was a respected authority on the Medicare system and often advised groups and individuals how to better use and understand the health care system.
"She advised people with insurance problems. She was able to wade through the morass of insurance applications. She saved people a lot of money by not having to hire someone to help them," Mrs. Szymkowiak said. "Her willingness to be of assistance was so valuable to many people."
A Philadelphia native, the former Loretta Maffei married William Wright Light in 1948 and the couple moved to North Baltimore in 1963 to raise their family.
She worked as a secretary at St. Paul's School from 1965 until the early 1970s, and as an executive secretary until the early 1980s at the Johns Hopkins University, where she also studied personnel administration and psychology. She later worked as office manager at the Automobile Trade Association and retired in 1987.
Mrs. Light's husband died in 1984. She is survived by a son, William Joseph Light of Baltimore; two daughters, Helena Light Hadley of Mount Airy and Bernice Bruns of Tampa, Fla.; two sisters, Dorothy Clark of Levittown, Pa., and Rose Mietz of
Pennsauken, N.J.; and four grandchildren.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Dominic's Roman Catholic Church, 5302 Harford Road. Memorial donations may be made to the Union Memorial Hospital Auxiliary or the American Institute for Cancer Research.
Pub Date: 5/07/96