Helen V. Kramer, founder of the nursing program at Essex Community College and a longtime member of the Maryland State Board of Nurses, died at Carroll County General Hospital on Thursday of heart failure. She was 81.
During her nursing career that spanned nearly half a century, Miss Kramer worked as director of nursing at St. Agnes Hospital and as director of the School of Nursing at Franklin Square Hospital Center.
"She had such a love of helping people and wanted the students to be the best they could be to help the patients," said Teresa Bianco, who succeeded Miss Kramer as director of the nursing program at Essex.
Miss Kramer's former secretary at Essex Community College, Dottie Pope, remembered her being strict with students, but said she had a "heart of gold" and was always willing to listen to someone's problems. "They lost her mold after she was born," she said.
She described her boss as "coming from the old school" when nurses did everything. "She would tell us they would even have to carry coal," she said.
Miss Kramer was born and raised in Ellicott City, where she graduated from Trinity Preparatory School. She became a registered nurse after graduating from St. Agnes School of Nursing in 1942. She earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing in 1952 and a master's degree in nursing education in 1957 from the University of Maryland.
At St. Agnes Hospital, she worked for many years as a staff nurse, head nurse, nursing instructor, director of nursing and director of nursing education.
Later, she moved on to Franklin Square Hospital Center, where she was the assistant director and then director of the hospital's nursing school.
Miss Kramer founded the nursing program at Essex Community College in 1967 and retired in 1986. She was later granted the title of professor emeritus at the college, said her niece, Patricia Naylor of Westminster.
Miss Kramer was a board member of the Maryland League for Nursing and the Maryland Nurses Association. She served for 23 years on the Maryland State Board of Nurses, the state's licensing board. She was the board's president for six years.
She is also named in Who's Who in American Nursing.
During her career, Miss Kramer was particularly interested in improving nursing education to raise the quality of patient care, Mrs. Naylor said.
A longtime resident of Bowleys Quarters in eastern Baltimore County, Miss Kramer had lived in a house on the water. "She loved the Chesapeake Bay, she loved crabs," her niece said.
In recent years, Miss Kramer lived with her niece in Westminster.
Miss Kramer was a former member of Our Lady Queen of Peace Roman Catholic Church in Middle River and an active member in the Maryland chapter of the International Federation of Catholic Alumnae.
She later became a member of the Wisdom Club at St. John's Roman Catholic Church in Westminster.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. John's Roman Catholic Church, 43 Monroe St., Westminster.
She is survived by several nieces and nephews.
William Avery Crawford, 86, a specialist in Soviet and Eastern European affairs who was U.S. ambassador to Romania during the Cold War, died Friday at his home in Bethesda.
Mr. Crawford served in Havana, Moscow, Paris and Prague, Czechoslovakia, before President John F. Kennedy named him minister to then-communist Romania in 1961. Mr. Crawford became ambassador when the legation in Romania gained full embassy status in 1964.
He retired from the Foreign Service in 1970. He then taught at the Landon School in Bethesda and served for 10 years as director of foreign relations for a marketing firm in Washington.
A. Keith Smiley, 91, a resort executive and environmentalist who helped protect thousands of acres of scenic landscape in Ulster County, N.Y., as a nature preserve, died Dec. 6 in Goshen, N.Y.
He was a longtime resident of Mohonk Mountain House, a 251-room resort in the Shawangunk Mountains near New Paltz in Ulster County. For a decade, he was president of the resort, which overlooks Lake Mohonk.
Mr. Smiley's family acquired extensive landholdings in Ulster County in the 19th and early 20th centuries. By 1971, he and his brother, Dan, had sold, for a modest price, several thousand acres of mountainous landscape to a trust, the Mohonk Trust, which they had organized. The tract consists of more than 6,400 acres. It is operated as a nature preserve on a nonprofit basis by the Mohonk Preserve.
Erica Van Acker, 62, whose experience was the basis of a pioneering public television documentary about rape in 1971 and who became an early public spokeswoman for those who had been raped, died Sept. 11 in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Ms. Van Acker, who was 30 when she was attacked in the hallway of her apartment building, became pregnant and had an abortion. The documentary, No Tears for Rachel, was made for WNET-TV in New York and was broadcast nationally on Bill Moyers' Journal. After the documentary aired, she became an advocate.