Mary Theresa Schiminger, 69, health department supervisor who cut city tuberculosis rate

April 28, 2000|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Mary Theresa Schiminger, a former health department supervisor who successfully cut city tuberculosis rates, died Monday of undetermined causes at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. She was 69 and lived in Timonium.

During her 18 years as supervisor of the tuberculosis register for the Baltimore City Health Department, she helped reduce the number of cases from almost 600 to just under 100.

"There was a remarkable reduction in Baltimore," said Joe Scavotto, a former colleague who is a public health adviser at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. "She had a significant role in contributing to that."

Mrs. Schiminger, a hard-working, no-nonsense health professional who took the bus to her Fayette Street office, was remembered for her strong administrative skills.

"She was one of the persons who remembered everything -- even the details of a case she'd reviewed years before," Mr. Scavotto said. "Her memory was a great asset on the job."

She was known for keeping long hours on her job and remembered for her dedication to fighting the disease.

"She was always there so early she ate her breakfast at the office," said Deloris Felder, a former co-worker who lives in Northwest Baltimore. "She practically ran the tuberculosis department. Everybody depended upon her. She wanted the work to be done correctly and on time."

Born in Baltimore, the former Mary Theresa Lanahan was raised on Northeast Baltimore's Chesterfield Avenue. She was a graduate of the Shrine of the Little Flower parochial school and Catholic High School.

She began her business career in 1950 as a secretary at the Olin Mathieson Chemical Co., where she worked until 1958. She then became the parish secretary at St. John's Episcopal Church, Huntingdon, at Old York Road and Greenmount Avenue in Waverly. She typed the weekly bulletins and helped the rector prepare his sermons from 1967 to 1974.

During her retirement, she continued a lifelong passion for reading. She also collected videotapes of classic movies.

She and other members of her Catholic High School graduating class formed a club -- the Lovely Ladies -- and met in each others' homes over the years.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 9: 30 a.m. today at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, 101 Church Lane, Cockeysville.

She is survived by a son, Paul J. Schiminger of Timonium; a sister, Ruth Lombardo of Baltimore; and a grandson and granddaughter.

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