Gertrude R. Schuman, 90, hospital seamstress, cook

August 25, 1999|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Gertrude R. Schuman, a retired hospital seamstress, died Friday of cancer at Harbor Hospital Center. She was 90 and a resident of Christ Church Harbor Apartments.

Known as "Miss Gert," Mrs. Schuman, with her carefully coiffed hair, was a familiar figure in southern Baltimore, where she had lived all her life.

She had worked as a seamstress in the laundry room of the old South Baltimore General Hospital, now Harbor Hospital, where she repaired sheets, pillowcases, towels and interns' uniforms from 1967 until retiring in 1975.

The former Gertrude R. Carrick -- the eldest of six children -- was born and raised on William Street and attended city public schools until she left in the sixth grade to help support her family.

Mrs. Schuman worked wallpapering and painting houses, stretching curtains and laying floors, said her daughter-in-law Pat Schuman of Riviera Beach.

"She was from sturdy stock. When she lived on Montgomery Street, she even shoveled the coal into her furnace. She was always a very independent woman who knew what she wanted," the daughter-in-law said.

During the late 1950s and 1960s, many South Baltimore teen-agers knew Mrs. Schuman as a sponsor and chaperon at an area teen canteen. Though of average height, her presence was enough to maintain order.

"No one or anything got by Miss Gert," said her daughter-in-law.

For years, Mrs. Schuman, an excellent cook, spent Saturdays and Sundays baking bread and rolls and using the leftover dough to make fried dough babies for the children, said family members.

Since 1920, she had been a member of Episcopal Church of the Advent, 1301 S. Charles St., where she seldom missed the 9 a.m. Sunday service. She often worked in the church's kitchen, helping to prepare parish suppers.

In 1928, she married William E. Schuman Jr., who worked for the Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks until he died in 1967.

Services for Mrs. Schuman were held Monday at Episcopal Church of the Advent.

She is survived by two sons, William E. Schuman III of Riviera Beach and Dennis E. Schuman of Glen Burnie; a daughter, Jean E. Montgomery of Ocean City; six grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

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