Mary Matilda Friel, 92, civic activist, volunteer

May 12, 2004

Mary M. Friel, a Queen Anne's County civic activist and volunteer, died in her sleep Sunday at the Spa Creek Nursing Center in Annapolis. The Queenstown resident was 92.

She was born Mary Matilda Parks in Chestertown, and after the death of her mother was raised in Centreville. She was a 1932 graduate of Centreville High School and earned a bachelor's degree from Washington College in 1936.

After attending the old Gill Secretarial School in Baltimore and working briefly as a secretary for a law firm, she returned to Centreville and became society editor for the Queen Anne's Record-Observer. She was also a founder of and performed with the Queen Anne's Little Theatre.

Mrs. Friel was an active member of the Children's Aid Society, Queen Anne's County Red Cross, Church Hill Theatre Group and Women's League of Washington College. She was a charter member and had served on the board of the Queen Anne's County Historical Society and founded the Queen Anne's County Dancing Class, a children's program.

She was married in 1938 to James Reynolds Friel Sr., a businessman who died in 1983.

Mrs. Friel was a communicant of St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church in Queenstown, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Friday.

Survivors include a son, James R. Friel Jr. of Centreville; two daughters, Mary Matilda Friel Huber of Allendale, N.J., and Pamela Friel Bernard of Queenstown; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Another son, John Friel, died in infancy.

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