Elizabeth `Betty' Lee, 74, catering assistant, Social Security clerk

July 28, 2002|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Elizabeth "Betty" Lee, a retired catering assistant and Social Security Administration clerk who fought a prolonged battle with kidney disease, died July 21 of a hemorrhage at her Fallstaff-area home. She was 74.

Born Elizabeth N. Sheridan in Baltimore, she was raised on McCulloh Street in the northwestern section of the city. She was a member of Frederick Douglass High School's Class of 1944 and earned her general equivalency diploma in 1969.

As a young woman, she worked at Hutzler's department store, baking rolls, cakes and pies in its downtown bakery. She then joined the staff of L. Neuberger & Son caterers on West Lexington Street, where she prepared and arranged foods for wedding receptions and other social functions.

"She was a valuable worker who became a friend of mine," said Rose Neuberger, whose family ran the catering business. "If I worked until midnight, Betty stayed with me. She was good at everything she did. Betty was a quite a lady."

Mrs. Lee was a life member of Northwest Baltimore's St. Katherine of Alexandria Episcopal Church, where she was co-chairwoman of the Women's Guild. She helped run church social events, prepared food and decorated its hall. Services for her were held there yesterday.

In 1971, Mrs. Lee was hired as a clerk at Social Security headquarters in Woodlawn. She worked for the Health Care Finance Agency for 27 years.

Her kidney disease was diagnosed in the early 1980s and she began undergoing dialysis.

Determined to keep working, she arranged her workday around her treatments - and arrived at her desk early in the morning to accommodate them.

Family members said Mrs. Lee trained herself to take her blood pressure, and learned to set up the necessary equipment and chart her medical condition.

After retiring, she exercised daily by walking at Reisterstown Road Plaza.

"She knew she was dealing with a potentially life-threatening disease," said her daughter, Elizabeth M. Lee of Baltimore. "She was able to accept this by assuming a determined attitude. She was a faithful patient. She never missed a treatment. When we had a blizzard, she had the National Guard in a truck come so she could get the hospital."

Mrs. Lee also is survived by three sons, Edward Lee, Winston Lee and William Wheeler, all of Baltimore; two other daughters, Eileen Logan and Donsey Taylor, both of Baltimore; 12 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Two sons, Roy Lee Jr. and Albert Lee, died many years ago. Her marriage to Roy Lee Sr. ended in divorce.

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