Bessie O'Dell Dunning, a homemaker who enjoyed playing the piano, died of Alzheimer's disease Thursday at Genesis Eldercare at Brightwood in Lutherville. She was 85.
Born Bessie O'Dell in Jacksonville, Fla., she moved with her family as a child to Baltimore's Homewood section. She was a 1935 graduate of Bryn Mawr School.
She earned a bachelor's degree in music in 1939 from Goucher College, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She also earned a second bachelor's degree in piano from the Peabody Conservatory in 1940.
In 1939, she married Charles Alexander Dunning, a partner in the Baltimore pharmaceutical firm of Hynson, Wescott & Dunning who died in 1989.
A longtime Roland Park resident, Mrs. Dunning was an award-winning rose gardener. She was particularly fond of playing works by Beethoven on the piano, family members said.
She was a member of Daughters of the American Revolution and the Woman's Club of Roland Park, and a former member of Second Presbyterian Church in Guilford.
Graveside services will be held at noon Dec. 8 at Loudon Park Cemetery, 3801 Frederick Ave.
Mrs. Dunning is survived by four sons, Charles A. Dunning and David B. Dunning, both of Portland, Ore., Robert A. Dunning of Easton and John O. Dunning of Roland Park; a daughter, E. Carole Dunning of Ocean Pines; five grandchildren; and a great-grandson.