Margaret K. `Peggy' Bernstein, 87, civic volunteer

February 20, 2002|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

Margaret K. "Peggy" Bernstein, granddaughter of a Baltimore department store founder and longtime civic volunteer, died of cancer Friday at her Pikesville home. She was 87.

The granddaughter of Louis Kohn, a founder of Hochschild, Kohn & Co, she spent much of her childhood in the store -- and her adulthood doting on her family and helping people in trouble.

From 1974 to 1996 she was a board member of Fellowship of Lights, which operates city shelters for runaways and the homeless, as well as after-school programs for children. Through that organization, an emergency shelter for girls was opened in East Baltimore and named Peggy's Place in honor of Mrs. Bernstein.

"She was most proud of the services she succeeded in getting set up for kids that were having problems and would otherwise have been on the streets," said her son, Alan Bernstein of Rochester, N.Y. "It was the focus of her passion for 60 years."

Her efforts to help those in need extended to collecting stray golf balls from her yard and selling them back to a neighboring golf course -- donating the money to charity.

Born Margaret Kohn in Baltimore, she was a 1936 graduate of Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

Later that year, she worked as a biostatistics laboratory technician at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, where she met her husband, Dr. Alan Bernstein, an internist.

The two married the next year, and Mrs. Bernstein turned her attention to raising a family. When her children were young, she began to volunteer for organizations such as the Child Study Association and Park School Parents Association, and she was a board member of the Maryland Day Care Committee and Jewish Family and Children's Services.

After her husband's death in 1969, Mrs. Bernstein continued her volunteer efforts. She became a regional board member for the Family Service Association of America and a board member of the Maryland Conference of Social Concern and the National Council of Jewish Women.

Through the latter group, she helped organize a national study of juvenile justice and became a member of Citizens Concerned for Juvenile Justice.

Services were held Monday.

In addition to her son, Mrs. Bernstein is survived by a daughter, Carol Pryor of Parkville, and three grandchildren.

The family suggested memorial donations to Fellowship of Lights, in care of Ross Pologe, 1101 St. Paul St., No. 11, Baltimore 21202.

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