Mae Elizabeth Dyson, 85, Afro newspaper trustee

June 23, 2000|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Mae Elizabeth Dyson, former corporate secretary, member of the board and a trustee of the Afro-American Newspapers, died in her sleep Monday at her Ashburton home. She was 85.

Born into a journalistic dynasty, Mrs. Dyson was a granddaughter of John H. Murphy Sr., who founded the Afro-American in 1892.

Her father, D. Arnett Murphy, was advertising director and vice president of the Afro-American Newspapers from 1909 until his retirement in 1954.

After earning a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University, she began her newspaper career in 1938, when she went to work for the Afro as a reporter.

She later joined her father in the advertising department in the newspaper's offices at 628 N. Eutaw St., where she later served as supervisor in the dispatch department.

"We both came to work at the Afro at the same time," said John H. Murphy III, Mrs. Dyson's first cousin, who retired as publisher in 1985.

"Her job was keeping track of the advertising plates and mats and making sure the ads got on the right page. It was a big job as we had 12 editions in those days," Mr. Murphy said from his Ashburton home yesterday.

"She'd be out on the composing room floor carefully checking and following those ads. It was heavy work, too. She was a most efficient person. You could go back to her two years later, and she could quickly pull out a mat or plate," he said.

Mr. Murphy described his cousin as a "mild-mannered and compatible individual" who was "meticulous in her work and made sure it was right."

"She was a great asset to the company and made the trail an easy one. She really was loved by everyone at the Afro," said Mr. Murphy.

Mrs. Dyson retired in 1986.

"She was a very quiet and sweet person but could be determined when she made up her mind. However, she was devoted to the Afro and its purpose," said June L. Powell, a niece who lives in Pikesville.

Born Mae Elizabeth Murphy and raised in West Baltimore, she graduated from Douglass High School.

She was married in 1941 to Walter T. Dyson, now retired, a Baltimore public school educator and department head, who survives her.

She was a member of Grace Presbyterian Church, the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the We Wives, a social club.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow in the chapel of the Nutter Funeral Home, 2501 Gwynns Falls Parkway in Baltimore.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by nieces and nephews.

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