Dolores F. Townsend, 89, secretary for Baltimore County public schools

March 01, 2003

Dolores F. Townsend, the mother-in-law of former Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and a secretary in Baltimore County public schools for 30 years, died of complications from a stroke yesterday at Charlestown Retirement Community, where she had lived since 1990. She was 89 and had been a longtime Timonium resident.

Born Dolores Fahey in Baltimore, she was abandoned by her parents and raised until she was 5 years old by her paternal grandmother. She then lived in Catholic orphanages until being taken in by a family in Carney.

Mrs. Townsend graduated in 1931 from Towson High School, and four years later married her high school sweetheart, L. Raymond Townsend. Mr. Townsend, a Baltimore County educator and former principal of Padonia Elementary School, died in 1998.

As an elementary school secretary, Mrs. Townsend worked at Sparks Elementary School for 10 years, until joining Hampton Elementary School in Lutherville in 1954. She retired in 1974.

"It was different in those days. There was just a principal, a secretary, a custodian and the teachers," said a son, David L. Townsend of Ruxton, whose wife is the former lieutenant governor. "My mother did all the correspondence and record-keeping, kept the books, answered the phone, took care of all the injuries and dried all the tears of the children.

"I met hundreds of people during the recent campaign who had been children at Hampton and had such kind memories of my mother," he said.

Mrs. Townsend enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and family. She also liked to take them out for hot fudge sundaes at Friendly's and to bake.

She was a former communicant of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Cockeysville and Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Roman Catholic Church.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 1 p.m. Monday at Our Lady of the Angels Chapel at Charlestown, 713 Maiden Choice Lane, Catonsville.

Mrs. Townsend's survivors include another son, Lawrence Raymond Townsend Jr. of Lutherville; a sister, Milan Kluth of Rogers, Ark.; and four grandchildren.

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