Leona Folsom Hardy, 91, former Miss BaltimoreLeona Folsom...

August 14, 1996

Leona Folsom Hardy, 91, former Miss Baltimore

Leona Folsom Hardy, a former Miss Baltimore and homemaker, died Sunday of pneumonia at Good Samaritan Hospital. She was 91.

The former Dundalk resident moved to Meridian Nursing Center-Cromwell several years ago.

In 1926, at age 19, she won the Miss Baltimore pageant for single women, only to be disqualified when her former husband informed the committee that she was married.

"Because she had been married, she was named a runner-up and later filled the rest of [Mildred Josephine Adam's] term after she left the city and joined the Ziegfeld Follies," said her son, William Oliver Hardy Jr. of Parkville.

The former Leona F. Durst was born and educated in Pennsylvania. She moved to Baltimore in 1923 after graduating from business school. After briefly working in a candy factory, she went to work at Sussman & Lev's Delicatessen, on West Baltimore Street near the city's theater district.

"She started as a waitress and became in charge of catering," said her son, who recalled his mother's many stories of waiting on celebrities and vaudevillians.

In 1938, she married William Oliver Hardy and they settled in Dundalk. Mr. Hardy died in 1982.

Active in Democratic politics, Mrs. Hardy was known as "The Little Mayor of Dundalk" and during World War II served as a neighborhood air raid warden.

She was a Bible teacher at a Jehovah's Witnesses congregation in Dundalk and most recently in Rosedale.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. today at Lassahn Funeral Homes, 7401 Belair Road.

Other survivors include another son, William Gedden of Dundalk; six sisters, Eulalie Mears, Maxine Blachowicz and Cleo Lewis, all of Baltimore, Rosezella Stover of New Kensington, Pa., Garnet Fuller of Hartford, Conn., and Dorothy Bates of Virginia; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Robert Clarke Abell, a former chief investigator for the Maryland Department of Licensing and Regulation and a former state trooper, died Saturday in a one-car accident after an apparent heart attack. He was 59 and lived in Winfield.

Mr. Abell was among the first troopers at the Westminster Barracks of the Maryland State Police, said his wife, the former Charlotte Marick. The couple would have celebrated their 34th wedding anniversary Sunday.

Mr. Abell was returning home from a part-time job as a teller at Pimlico Race Course when the accident occurred.

Baltimore County and state police said he was driving his 1993 Chevrolet S10 pickup truck north in the 8600 block of McDonogh Road about 6: 50 p.m. Saturday when the vehicle suddenly accelerated, crossed the center line and crashed in a wooded area. He was pronounced dead at Northwest Medical Center.

Mr. Abell was born in Winfield. He served in the Army from 1954 to 1957 and earned his high school equivalency. He was a state trooper from 1959 to 1965, and from 1968 until 1974, he and his wife raced horses.

In 1975, he became a home improvement investigator for the state. He was chief investigator when he retired in 1989.

Mr. Abell also worked the 70-acre Winfield farm, which was established by his father in 1921 and where he had spent his boyhood.

A private memorial service will be held Aug. 24.

Other survivors include a daughter, Melissa A. Abell of Westminster; three brothers, Thomas A. Abell, Joseph A. Abell Jr. and Francis "Johnny" Abell, all of Winfield; and a sister, Jane Morgan of Sacramento, Calif.

Michael A. Mitchell Sr., 37, state correctional officer

Funeral services for Michael Alfred Mitchell Sr., a former state correctional officer, were held yesterday. He was 37 and lived in Northeast Baltimore.

The Baltimore native was a 1979 graduate of Northern High School, where he received a letter in football. He worked as a correctional officer, his family said, and in 1990 joined a private security firm from which he resigned this year.

Mr. Mitchell was found hanged in his cell Thursday at the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center, an apparent suicide. He was being held without bail on drug-distribution charges.

Survivors include his wife, the former Elizabeth Butler, whom he married in 1994; two sons, Michael A. Mitchell Jr. and Charles Mitchell; his father, George L. Mitchell Jr.; his grandfather, George L. Mitchell Sr.; two brothers, George L. Mitchell III and Gregory Mitchell; four sisters, Deneen Clayburn, Trevette Mitchell, Carla Butler and Tina Butler; and a granddaughter, Briane Mitchell. All are of Baltimore.

Pub Date: 8/14/96

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