Florence V. Hargrove, 66, City Hall maintenance worker

May 07, 2004|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Florence V. Hargrove, an amiable City Hall maintenance worker who was a friend to mayors and City Council members for more than a decade, died of a heart attack April 30 at her Northwest Baltimore home. She was 66.

"She was an awesome lady and one of those people in City Hall who always greeted you with a warm, broad smile each morning. She was like a member of the family, and we're all going to miss her," Mayor Martin O'Malley said yesterday.

She was born and raised Florence V. Boyd in Chase City, Va., and moved to Baltimore in 1957. That year, she married Al Hargrove, a concrete pipe worker, and settled in Northwest Baltimore. He died in 1976.

In the 1960s, Mrs. Hargrove went to work in maintenance at the city Police Department's Central District station and remained there until transferring to City Hall in the early 1990s. Her many responsibilities included overseeing the cleaning of the mayor's office.

"When the cleaning services were privatized, they kept one person, and that person was Florence," said Glen S. Middleton, president of Local 44 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

"When we discussed privatization, every City Council person came to me and said we realize we have to do some tough things here, but somehow we have to find a way to keep Florence. It was a real uprising. Anyway, we were able to reclassify her and keep her on the job," Mr. O'Malley said.

"She was such a big part of life at City Hall and touched so many people. She was one of those salt-of-the-earth Baltimoreans who take great pride in their work," he added.

"Florence was a member of Local 44 of AFSCME and was one of the noble figures of our union. She had been our longtime secretary and treasurer," Mr. Middleton said.

Mrs. Hargrove liked attending and cooking for family gatherings and was known for her many Southern-style dishes. She also was an avid traveler.

She was a member of New Psalmist Baptist Church, where services were held yesterday.

Mrs. Hargrove is survived by two sons, Melvin L. Hargrove and Allen Hargrove, both of Baltimore; four brothers, Nathaniel Boyd of Alexandria, Va., Mataw Boyd of Landover, and James Boyd and Curtis Boyd, both of Chase City; a sister, Christine Jackson of Chase City; two grandchildren; and a great-grandchild. Another son, Alphonso Hargrove, died in 2001.

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