Helen J. Hruska, 91, health department worker

August 14, 2004

Helen J. Hruska, a retired executive secretary who worked for the Baltimore County Health Department for more than two decades, died of a stroke Sunday at the Broadmead retirement community in Cockeysville. The former longtime Lutherville resident was 91.

She was born Helen Jameyson in Wood River, Neb., and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she graduated from high school.

After earning a bachelor's degree in English from Coe College in Iowa, Mrs. Hruska began teaching in one-room schoolhouses.

She was married in 1935 to Leo J. Hruska, an engineer, and moved to Baltimore in 1938. Her husband, who later worked at Bendix Radio in Towson and Glenn L. Martin Co., died in 1978.

Mrs. Hruska went to work in 1954 for Dr. Margaret Sherrard Hamberry, who was then Baltimore County medical director for tuberculosis control and director of school health and who in 1988 became the first woman to serve as director of the county health department.

Mrs. Hruska retired in 1978.

"In addition's to Mom's full-time work at the Health Department, she raised not only her four children but a whole host of neighborhood children, who found her house and kitchen always welcoming," said her daughter, Kathleen Hruska Nichol of Ottawa, Ontario.

Mrs. Hruska was also an accomplished seamstress and baker.

"She made a seven-layer chocolate cake that had a rich chocolate filling for birthdays, and if she really liked you she made one for your birthday," said Barbara "Bobbi" Seabolt, a longtime friend and neighbor.

Mrs. Hruska was also known for her fruit pies, Halloween popcorn balls and hoska, a fruit and nut bread she prepared at Christmas and gave to family and friends.

A memorial service was held Thursday at Broadmead, where Mrs. Hruska has lived since 1981.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Hruska is survived by two sons, Donald C. Hruska of Omak, Wash., and Eric J. Hruska of Scotland; and six grandchildren. Another son, James D. Hruska, died in 1992.

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