Mable Tracy, 76, breeder of German Rex cats, voice in radio commercials

November 08, 2001|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Mable J. Tracy, a cat fancier who bred an unusual feline variety, died Sunday of breast cancer at her Ruxton home. She was 76.

More than 30 years ago, while attending a Baltimore Civic Center cat show, she became intrigued by a German Rex, a cat that mutated naturally and has a soft and velvety coat of tightly curled hair.

She acquired Rex cats and began to breed them at her home in Baltimore County, housing 21 of them in cages constructed in a wing of the house. She was a founder of the International Rex Breeders United Club, and her contributions to the breed are included in scientific feline texts in the United States, Australia and Europe. She entered her cats at Madison Square Garden shows in New York and other cities.

"She was a very ethical breeder who never misrepresented any of her stock," said Dot Moeller of Cockeysville, former president of the Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "She was super conscientious if one of her cats got sick. You'd go into her house and never know she had any cats. They were perfectly tended."

In a 1969 interview in the News American, Mrs. Tracy said Rex cats made excellent pets, did not shed, were obedient and learned to walk on leashes.

Born in Crestview, Ohio, Mable Jones moved to Ilchester with her family as a child. She was a 1942 graduate of Ellicott City High School.

In 1942, she married Charles E. Tracy, an advertising agency owner who survives her. They formed a business partnership in 1958 and she ran the office -- first in the 2100 block of Harford Road and later in Timonium.

For many years she was the voice in commercials produced by her husband. Baltimore radio audiences heard her as the voice of Fulton Grand Laundry, in spots accompanied by the sound of breaking waves and the cries of seagulls. They closed the agency in 1987.

The couple lived for nearly 25 years in Sparks, where she was a co-founder of the Monkton-Sparks Citizens Association whose members fought the dumping of waste sludge in farmers' open fields. Acting on tips, she appeared at dumping sites with county officials -- often on holidays when normal surveillance would be slight -- to stop the practice.

In the 1980s, she and her husband were founding volunteers of Friends of the Hereford Library, a group that lobbied to get a library for northern Baltimore County. In 1988, when a building was completed, she worked unpaid Wednesday mornings.

For the past 30 years she did genealogical research on the Ball and Babb families, who were ancestors of her mother. She traveled to England to document her roots, and her findings were published in genealogy reference books.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. today at Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by a son, Charles E. Tracy Jr. of Jarrettsville; a daughter, Susan Boyd of Baldwin; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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