Edith G. Mills, 98, shoe store employee

April 04, 2004

Edith G. Mills, a devoted churchgoer who worked at a downtown shoe store for nearly 50 years, died March 28 of complications from Alzheimer's disease at Good Samaritan Nursing Home. She was 98.

Born Edith Gladden on Christmas Day in 1905, she grew up in East Baltimore, the oldest of three children. She attended Baltimore City schools but left at an early age to help support her family.

She began her first job at age 13 at Johns Hopkins Hospital, but within months went to work for Dalsheimer's shoe store.

Each day, she walked over the Orleans Street viaduct from her parents' home in East Baltimore to the downtown store, where she started out operating the elevator, then brought shoes from the backrooms to the sales clerks and, finally, delivered shoes to customers at their homes and offices. She worked for Dalsheimer's until it closed in the early 1960s, said Michael Matthews, a great-nephew.

Through her adolescence and until she married at age 35, she turned over all of her paychecks to her mother for their family.

"She was stern and rigid and a disciplinarian," Mr. Matthews said. She had two brothers, and "with her being the oldest ... she carried on being the leader and always had that leadership mentality."

She married James "Teddy" Mills on Nov. 29, 1941, after a courtship that began during their teen-age years. Mr. Mills died in 1984.

Mrs. Mills was a longtime member of Christ United Methodist Church at Chase and Washington streets, tracing her membership to the Old Asbury Methodist Church. She devoted much of her time and energy to the church, where she served on the Ushers Board.

Services were held Thursday at Christ United.

She is survived by many nieces and nephews.

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