Joanne A. Glodek, a retired bookkeeper and nationally known breeder of champion West Highland white terriers, died of respiratory failure Friday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She was 73.
She was born Joanne A. Miklasz in Baltimore and spent her early years living upstairs from her parents' grocery store at Gough and Chester streets.
In 1944, the family moved to northern Anne Arundel County after her parents sold their East Baltimore store and purchased an old country store on Severn Station Road that had been a landmark since the early 1900s.
Renamed the J & M Miklasz General Store, the clapboard building with its broad and rambling front porch - complete with a liar's bench for conversation - became a popular crossroads destination. Locals gathered there to swap gossip while dining on homemade soups, jumbo sandwiches and salads.
"She worked in the store along with her brothers and sisters. She waited on customers and helped make sandwiches, deviled eggs and salads," said a daughter, Jami L. Glodek of Severn. "People would come from all directions. It was a zoo at lunchtime."
Mrs. Glodek was a graduate of the business course at the old St. Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church in East Baltimore and the Baltimore Business College.
She became the store's bookkeeper in 1955 and continued working there until retiring in 1990.
After purchasing her first West Highland white terrier in the late 1950s, Mrs. Glodek became a professional breeder and trainer of the breed that has roots in Scotland and the Hebrides.
"She bought her first westie for her son. All parents use that excuse when they buy a dog for their children that they really want," Miss Glodek said with a laugh.
Since 1960, Mrs. Glodek had owned and operated Mac-Ken-Char Westies at her Severn home. At her death, she was actively involved in the business, which she shared with her daughter.
In 2000, one of her dogs, Carbon Copy, became the first breeder-owner-handled westie to win "Best of Breed" at the Westminster Kennel Club show in New York's Madison Square Garden.
Her most famous dog, Gregory, who was shown throughout the United States in the 1980s, was recognized by the West Highland White Terrier Club of America as the top-winning breeder-owner-handled westie of all time.
"He still holds the record as the top-producing westie in the world and sired 135 champions," Miss Glodek said.
"With Gregory, she opened the door for the breeder-owner-handler classification and got us recognized. Before that, you needed a professional handler when the dog was shown," said Vilma E. Amato of Mount Airy, a fellow West Highland breeder.
Mrs. Amato, a friend and competitor for 35 years, praised Mrs. Glodek's abilities as a breeder and in showing dogs.
"She always had a good eye. She could look at a puppy and see what it would be like as an adult. She bred westies to better the breed, not just to breed and sell dogs. Many of her dogs were in the top 10 of the westie breed," she said.
Mrs. Glodek was slowed but not stopped in her work with dogs after undergoing a lung transplant at age 65 at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and more recently took part in shows while using a wheelchair.
"She did her last show in December in Pennsylvania," the daughter said. "She'd get in her wheelchair and go. She was a real trouper. She held on for her dogs, and I think that's what kept her going."
In 1950, she married Joseph W. Glodek. A civilian employee and motor pool chief at Fort Meade, he died in 1997.
She was a communicant of St. Lawrence Roman Catholic Church.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at noon Thursday at Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church, 126 Dorsey Road, Glen Burnie.
Other survivors include a son, Jerald W. Glodek of Severn; another daughter, Joan Stanley of Severn; a brother, Joseph A. Miklasz of Crownsville; a sister, Mary Ann Macaluso of Severn; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.