Sara K. Krebs Moriarty, 62, spokeswoman for port

August 25, 2002|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF

Sara K. Krebs Moriarty, a former local newspaperwoman and longtime spokeswoman for the Maryland Port Administration, died of cancer Monday at her Inner Harbor apartment. She was 62.

Ms. Moriarty retired in January after working 14 years as the manager of public affairs for the MPA, which operates the public terminals of the port of Baltimore and the 30-story World Trade Center in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

Her job left her in charge of the day-to-day communications between the port - one of the busiest on the East Coast - and the news media, civic groups and the public. She also ran the Port of Baltimore Magazine and coordinated public displays, including photo galleries in the WTC lobby.

Despite the gritty, industrial work at the marine terminals, Ms. Moriarty found beauty there and loved climbing aboard docked cargo ships and meeting the crew members from around the world, her family and colleagues said.

She also loved her apartment at Harborview Towers for its sweeping vista of the Domino sugar plant, the industrial cranes and what her daughter, Sara Moriarty of Portland, Ore., characterized as the backside of Baltimore.

That "tremendous gift for aesthetics" made Ms. Moriarty very good at her job, said Judi Scioli, director of communications for the MPA.

"Once you get accustomed to the port, a funny thing happens," she said. "I always looked away from industrial sites, but now when I look at the port - the cranes and the goods stored on the lot - you start to see beauty in it. Sara saw that and was able to show other people that. She had ... a fine eye and a keen ability to observe that beauty and translate it into words and pictures."

A beach lover, Ms. Moriarty spent nearly every summer of her childhood and teen-age years in a small beach town called Mary Esther on the Florida Panhandle. After she and her children moved to Baltimore in 1982, she took frequent trips to Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Ms. Moriarty had a distinctive sense of style that was alternately artsy, funky and eccentric.

"She'd put things together in a way that nobody thought of," said daughter Paige Moriarty-Hartman of Longmont, Colo., adding that her mother rarely left the house without lipstick and bought three wigs after she lost her hair during chemotherapy.

"She was always very particular ... and said, `If you look good, then everything else will be OK,'" Ms. Moriarty-Hartman said. "She didn't mean it in a vain way, but that was just her attitude about life."

Born Sara Kelly Krebs in Washington, Ms. Moriarty grew up in Arlington, Va., and graduated from Washington-Lee High School in 1958.

She earned bachelor's degrees in journalism and English from the University of South Carolina, where she was president of the Kappa Delta sorority.

Before taking the job with the port administration, Ms. Moriarty worked as a reporter and editor, including stints at the Towson Times, Patuxent Publishing Co. and the Laurel Leader newspaper. She began her journalistic career in 1979 at the Potomac News in Woodbridge, Va.

She married John B. Moriarty in 1965. The couple divorced about 15 years later.

Services for Ms. Moriarty were held Thursday in Locust Point.

In addition to her two daughters, Ms. Moriarty is survived by her son, John B. Moriarty Jr. of Los Angeles, and her sister, Julia H. Krebs of Alexandria, Va.

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