Mary Eleanor Hipsley, 91, telephone operator

July 12, 2004

Mary Eleanor Hipsley, a retired long-distance telephone operator who had a second career at her grandson's garden center, died Tuesday of heart disease at St. Agnes Healthcare. The Catonsville resident was 91.

Born Mary Eleanor Groh in Baltimore and raised on Wilkens Avenue, she attended St. Benedict's School and the Institute of Notre Dame.

She became a long-distance telephone operator and worked for 38 years at the old Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company's office at 5 Light St. in downtown Baltimore. She retired in 1968, and two years later began working for her grandson, Garland Robert Williams, who opened a garden center on Ingleside Avenue. She retired again in 1985.

Known to her customers as Annie, she ran a cash register 12 hours a day, seven days a week, family members said. They said she rarely took a vacation.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph Monastery Roman Catholic Church, Old Frederick Road and Monastery Avenue.

Survivors include a daughter, Eleanor Agnes Neville of Catonsville; an additional grandson; and four great-grandchildren. Her husband of 39 years, James Hipsley, a truck mechanic, died in 1970.

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