Marjorie F. Henderson, 84, office worker for city...

March 06, 2001

Marjorie F. Henderson, 84, office worker for city

Marjorie F. Henderson, a retired municipal employee, died Thursday of Alzheimer's disease at Keswick Multi-Care Center in Roland Park. She was 84 and had lived many years in Randallstown.

Mrs. Henderson retired in 1978 from the Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks, where she was an office worker. Earlier, she worked in a similar capacity for the city's Bureau of Building and Construction.

Born Marjorie Miller in Trinidad, British West Indies, she moved to New York City as a child and was educated in public schools.

In 1936, she married John H. Henderson Jr., who was executive secretary of the YMCA's Druid Hill branch. He died in 1986.

She enjoyed reading and attending concerts and the theater. She also was an avid flower gardener.

Services are private.

She was predeceased by two sons, John H. Henderson III and Robert A. Henderson Sr.

She is survived by a son, Edward J. Henderson Sr. of Parkville; a daughter, Patricia L. Henderson of West Hills; a sister, Annice Seldon of White Plains, N.Y.; six grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

Elizabeth B. Purcell, 89, executive and volunteer

Elizabeth B. Purcell, a retired business executive and volunteer, died Saturday of complications from a stroke at Union Memorial Hospital. She was 89 and lived in Roland Park.

Elizabeth Burnett was born in Short Hills, N.J. She was a pianist with the National Broadcasting Co. orchestra in the early 1930s.

While living in New Jersey, she joined Rubbermaid Corp. and retired as a regional manager and vice president in 1975.

In the 1950s, Mrs. Purcell served as state chairwoman of music for the New Jersey Federation of Women's Clubs and helped provide music therapy for patients at mental and children's hospitals.

In 1960, she and her husband, Thomas R. Purcell, an attorney whom she married in 1936, moved to Maryland when he became head of the Tax and Trust Division of the Internal Revenue Service. He died in 1973.

In the early 1960s, she was a member of Project Homecoming, created by the Maryland Secretary of Health to help prepare long-term mental health patients for release.

Mrs. Purcell, who moved from Potomac, where she had lived for 17 years, to Roland Park in 1997, had been president of Potomac Seniors.

Organized under the auspices of the Montgomery County Department of Recreation, Potomac Seniors helped the White House answer letters from children across the nation, crocheted lap robes for nursing home residents, and made blankets for newborns and dolls for needy children.

She began painting in her 70s, and liked working in oils and watercolors.

Mrs. Purcell was a communicant of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at noon Thursday at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Short Hills.

She is survived by a son, Thomas R. Purcell of Royersford, Pa.; a daughter, Kathleen Purcell Vander Horst of Roland Park; and many nephews and nieces.

Minerva C. Porter Wilkerson, 75, special education teacher

Minerva C. Porter Wilkerson, who worked for 30 years as a Baltimore public school special education teacher, died Feb. 26 of a heart attack at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The West Baltimore resident was 75.

She retired in 1983 from Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in West Baltimore.

Minerva C. Nelson was born and raised in New York City, where she graduated from high school. She was married in 1945 to Armond Porter, a taxicab owner who died in 1975. In 1982, she married Noble Wilkerson, a public school groundskeeper, who died in 1990.

Mrs. Wilkerson enjoyed singing and traveling.

Services were held Friday.

Mrs. Wilkerson is survived by a son, Charles A. Porter of Randallstown; and a granddaughter.


Fred Lasswell, 84, the cartoonist who ran his "Snuffy Smith" strip uninterrupted for nearly 60 years, died of a heart attack Sunday in Tampa, Fla.

He took over the cartoon in 1942 after the strip's originator, Billy DeBeck, died. Mr. DeBeck started the cartoon in 1919.

Mr. Lasswell, who started working with Mr. DeBeck on the cartoon a decade earlier, felt his experience in rural Florida helped inspire Mr. DeBeck's idea about the cartoon's fictional "Hootin' Holler, N.C." Together, they came up with phrases like "Time's a wastin'," "shif'less skonk" and "bodacious" for the strip's characters.

The cartoon, which originally ran as "Take Barney Google, For Instance" before it was renamed to "Barney Google and Snuffy Smith," ran in 21 countries and 900 newspapers.

Walter Beerman, 107, a real estate broker who gained national attention as perhaps the country's oldest worker, died Saturday in Lakeland, Fla.

He worked 30-hour weeks until two years ago. He made appearances on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "Today," which billed him as America's oldest worker.

Sam Caldwell, 73, a former Georgia labor commissioner who served time in federal prison for insurance fraud, died Saturday in Decatur, Ga.

Prosecutors accused him of sinking his yacht in the Atlantic Ocean in 1982 to collect on a $95,000 insurance policy. He was convicted on eight federal counts of mail and insurance fraud.

Margaret Tafoya, 96, whose nimble, ingenious hands turned the chocolate-colored clay of her New Mexico pueblo into black-on-black and red-on-red pottery of such profound and graceful beauty that it acquired a global reputation, died Feb. 25 at her home in Santa Clara Pueblo near Santa Fe.

Her name in Tewa, the language of seven Southwestern pueblos, six in New Mexico and one in Arizona, was Corn Blossom. She was the matriarch of Santa Clara Pueblo potters, who are more numerous and produce more pottery than those of any other pueblo.

Her work, known for exceptionally large vessels, is exhibited in public and private collections around the world. She was named folk artist of the year by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1984.

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