Irene D. Piccinini, 75, gave to hospitals and museums

October 30, 1997|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Irene D. Piccinini, whose charitable interests ranged from hospitals to art museums, died Monday of a heart attack at her Towson residence. She was 75.

She and her husband of 57 years, Anthony J. Piccinini, a retired developer, donated the funds that restored the Walters Art Gallery's bronze doors and lobby.

"It was a wonderful gift that allowed us to remove the paint and restore the doors to their original condition. The doors date to at least 1908 and were part of Henry Walters' original gallery," Joy P. Heyrman, the museum's director of development, said yesterday.

"On Oct. 1, they attended a dedication of the restored doors. We were very fortunate to have them here, and they were advocates for us in the community," Heyrman said.

As a member and past president of the American Council on Italian Matters of Maryland Inc., Mrs. Piccinini helped raise money to send needy students to college and fund the organization's standing perpetual scholarships at the Johns Hopkins University, College of Notre Dame of Maryland and Loyola College.

Mrs. Piccinini bought stuffed animals and toys for patients at Johns Hopkins Hospital Children's Center and was a benefactor of Maryland General Hospital.

She was designated a Golden Founder of Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem and was awarded its Jerusalem Humanitarian Award several years ago.

"She was a marvelous cosmopolitan yet humble lady who had a charm that was indestructible," said Elaine Mintzes of Northwest Baltimore, a friend for 50 years and a benefactor of the Jerusalem hospital. "Her great strength lay in her concern for others and the loving care of her family."

Mrs. Piccinini traveled frequently to Italy, where she supported Boys' Town of Italy.

Born Irene D. Knoedler in East Baltimore, she was a graduate of parochial schools and, in 1939, Patterson High School.

During the 1930s, she studied tap and toe dancing at MacGardner Professional Dance Studio and performed with the "Show Parade" at theaters along the East Coast.

She later worked for G. C. Murphy department stores before she married, settled in Hamilton in Northeast Baltimore and became a homemaker.

She was a communicant of Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church, 8501 Loch Raven Blvd. in Baynesville, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

In addition to her husband, survivors include a son, Charles Anthony Piccinini of Cockeysville; two daughters, former state Sen. Janice Ann Piccinini of Timonium and Dolores Irene Piccinini of Towson; and three grandchildren.

Pub Date: 10/30/97

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