Rebecca Lerch, 94, homemaker, choir director

September 30, 2004

Rebecca Lerch, a homemaker and longtime choir director at Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Baltimore, died of pancreatic cancer Monday at the Edenwald retirement community in Towson. She was 94.

Born Rebecca Clarissa Helms in Bethlehem, Pa., she was a 1932 graduate of Oberlin College in Ohio.

She became a music teacher at an elementary school in Pelham, N.Y., then taught at a middle school in Elkins Park, Pa.

She met her husband, Brooke W. Lerch, an engineering manager at the old Western Electric plant at Point Breeze in Baltimore, at a ball at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, where her brother was a student, said her daughter, Sally Dausch of Baldwin.

After they married, the couple moved to Dundalk and later Baltimore's Northwood neighborhood, where they became active members of Our Saviour Lutheran Church. Mrs. Lerch directed the youth and bell choirs and played organ at weddings.

Mrs. Lerch kept her musical commitments at Our Saviour after she moved with her family to Stoneleigh in 1955. She stayed in the Baltimore County neighborhood -- where she volunteered with the garden club -- until 1988, when her husband died.

At Edenwald, where she lived for 16 years, she played the piano for holiday and religious events.

Services are private.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Lerch is survived by two sons, Brooke H. Lerch of Flemington, N.J., and Charles L. Lerch of Timonium; a brother, Samuel Helms of Nazareth, Pa.; 10 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

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