Annie B. Spicer, 89, ran Field's lunchroom kitchen in Pikesville for years

March 23, 2001|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Annie B. Spicer, who had been chief cook at Field's Pharmacy's lunchroom, died Monday of a respiratory ailment at Millenium Health Rehabilitation Liberty Heights. She was 89 and lived in Forest Park.

From 1959 to 1973, Mrs. Spicer ran the kitchen at what is today known as Field's of Pikesville, a popular 116-seat restaurant and store on Reisterstown Road in Pikesville. She returned to the restaurant a second time in 1978 and then retired permanently.

"She had integrity and old-fashioned values. She was a strong, endearing person, a role model for her employees and a role model for me, too," said Jeff L. Levin, owner of Field's of Pikesville. "I followed the advice she gave me. She had a sense of authority about her. She maintained order in her kitchen. Things went smoothly when she was there. ... She was first-rate as a human being."

Mr. Levin said Mrs. Spicer ordered the food, decided on the size of portions and made the crab, chicken, vegetable and split pea soups served daily.

"I am sure there are things on the menu today she would have started. She is part of the continuity of Field's," Mr. Levin said.

Edith Seipp, a co-worker, said, "She was helpful to everyone. ... She trained staff and was such a kind person."

Known as BeBe, Mrs. Spicer also operated a bakery from her kitchen at home. Friends recalled that she took orders - occasionally for a dozen cakes - and delivered them to customers' homes in the four-door Chevrolet Caprice she drove until several years ago.

"Her pound cake was so light and buttery, it was like a cloud," said Dorothy White Mason of Northwest Baltimore, a retired social worker and friend. "All her baking was scrumptious."

Friends said Mrs. Spicer credited her long life to abstinence. She neither smoked nor drank liquor and shunned cigarette smokers.

From April through October, Mrs. Spicer boarded a small boat twice a week and fished off Kent Island or Cambridge on the Eastern Shore. She was proud of a 13-pound fish she caught in the mid-1980s.

In an interview with The Sun in 1995, when she cast her vote for Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, she said, using a cane for support, "I was going to vote today if they had to drag me in there."

"She was a determined and direct person," said a friend, Kathryn Brown of Baltimore. "If she said she was going to do something, she accomplished it."

Born on a farm in Williamsburg County, S.C., the former Annie Barr attended public schools before moving to Baltimore in the early 1940s.

In 1945, she married Hilbert Spicer, who died in 1982.

In 1955, she joined Christian Memorial Church in West Baltimore, where she often sang and played piano.

"She had a beautiful, melodious soprano voice," said Mrs. Mason. "She sang like a mockingbird. She had the gift of music and could bring the house down."

Funeral services for Mrs. Spicer will be held at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at Christian Memorial Church, 2001 W. North Ave.

She is survived by a daughter, Mary Dell Watson of Baltimore; a sister, Pearl Terry of Rockingham, N.C.; three granddaughters; and six great-grandchildren.

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