Elizabeth V. Praetorius, 81, homemaker, crossword fan

May 30, 2004

Elizabeth Virginia Praetorius, a homemaker and crossword-puzzle enthusiast, died Wednesday of complications from emphysema at Gilchrest Center for Hospice Care in Towson. The Ellicott City resident was 81.

Born Elizabeth Eckenrode in Baltimore and raised in the city's Howard Park neighborhood, she loved to play golf as a child with her father at the Forest Park Golf Course and visit her grandparents in Saranac Lake, N.Y., in the Adirondack Mountains.

Mrs. Praetorius, who was known as Libby, graduated from Forest Park High School in 1941 and from the Baltimore Business College two years later. For the next five years, she worked as a secretary to the president of Druid Oak Belting Co.

In 1948, she married Frank H. Praetorius, an employee in The Sun's sales department, and left her job to raise a family. In 1960, the couple and their two young children moved to Howard County. Mrs. Praetorius frequently volunteered as a chaperone on her children's school field trips.

In addition to crossword puzzles, which she did every day, Mrs. Praetorius loved to read books, especially fiction. When she was finished with them, she would often donate the books to charities.

She and her husband traveled often, to Ocean City, Hawaii and, most notably, the West Coast. One of her favorite places was Big Sur, Calif. "My father loved to drive, and one year, they took a trip and they were gone for two months," said the couple's son, Mark Praetorius, who lived with his mother and cared for her in the past several years. Mr. Praetorius died in 1991.

A private graveside service is scheduled Friday morning.

In addition to her son, she is survived by a daughter, Lynn Nichols of Louisville, Ky.

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