Doris M. Mitzel, 81, homemaker, receptionist

January 27, 2004

Doris M. Mitzel, a former Hampden receptionist and homemaker who helped organize a neighborhood beautification effort, died Sunday of complications after hip surgery at a daughter's home in Crestview, Fla. She was 81.

Born Doris Mitzel in Baltimore, she was raised in Waverly and attended city public schools. In 1939, she married Zeb V. Sherrill, a farmer who died in 1942. She was married for 60 years to Ralph V. Mitzel, a retired Pennsylvania Railroad freight conductor who survives her.

Before moving to Crestview in 2000, the couple lived for more than 50 years on Elm Avenue in Hampden, and during the 1980s, Mrs. Mitzel was a receptionist at the former A. Alan Seitz Jr. Funeral Home there.

Mrs. Mitzel led an effort in her neighborhood to clean up yards and plant flowers.

"She took pride in her community and was involved in supporting its struggles and celebrations," said a daughter, Freelove S. Sommers of Bullhead City, Ariz.

She was a member of the Eastern Star, Roosevelt Recreation Senior Citizens' Wednesday Club and Mount Vernon United Methodist Church.

Mrs. Mitzel was an innovative and talented baker who was known throughout her neighborhood for her broken glass cake and paper-thin sugar cookies.

"She'd cut colored Jell-O into squares and then place them in a bowl of ladies fingers, which she covered with whipped cream. When she cut it, the cake looked liked stained glass," Mrs. Sommers said.

Plans for services were incomplete.

In addition to her husband and daughter, Mrs. Mitzel is survived by three other daughters, Carolyn S. Landers of Wheatridge, Colo., Joan L.M. Smith of Crestview and Vivian R. Mitzel of Baltimore; three brothers, Harry P. Mitzel of Joppatowne, Melville R. Mitzel of Woodstock and E. Lee Mitzel of Baltimore; seven grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

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