Lois S. Book, 88, owner of landscape design firm

October 08, 2004|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Lois S. Book, a longtime Mount Washington resident who had owned and operated a landscape design firm, died Monday of cardiac arrest at Northwest Hospital Center. She was 88.

Born and raised Lois Sicherman in Cleveland, she earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh and took graduate studies in social work at Case Western Reserve University.

After her marriage in 1941 to Joseph Book, an engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers, the couple lived in Syracuse, N.Y. During World II, she was a social worker with the Red Cross.

They moved to Baltimore in 1946 when Mr. Book was transferred here by the Army Corps. He was chief of its flood plain management division at his death in 1976.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Mrs. Book combined her love of flowers, trees and gardening with landscape design and established a firm that she operated from her home.

"She was a great gardener and for many years had been a judge with the Baltimore City Lawn and Garden Contest. Her garden at home was immaculately cared for and she was especially enamored of dogwoods and crape myrtles," said her daughter, Lyn Book Starr of Reisterstown.

Mrs. Book's design philosophy was creating beautiful, yet low-maintenance gardens for her clients.

"There were many examples in her neighborhood where she had slopes planted in ground cover rather than grass. It was much easier to take care of and didn't have to be mowed," the daughter said.

"One of her favorite plants she used was Jewels of Opar, with its red and yellow flowers. It's a plant that you generally don't see in a garden. It is not only low maintenance and beautiful, it's also self-seeding as it spreads. When you looked at one of her gardens there was always something blooming," Mrs. Starr said.

Much of Mrs. Book's work was accomplished in collaboration with her husband.

"He provided an engineering foundation and she brought her artistic and garden knowledge," Mrs. Starr said.

Mrs. Book enjoyed working in her garden until moving to Sunrise Assisted Living of Pikesville in 1998.

For years, Mrs. Book was involved in cultural, civic and religious affairs.

She was a longtime subscriber to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Baltimore Opera Company. She had been an active member of the League of Women Voters and Mount Washington Improvement Association, and wrote a garden column for its newsletter.

She took courses at Baltimore Hebrew University and traveled frequently with Elderhostel. She was a member of the Baltimore Writer's Alliance and enjoyed writing accounts of her travels for her community newsletter.

Mrs. Book was a member of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, where a memorial service was held Wednesday.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Book is survived by a son, Dr. Jonathan D. Book of Owings Mills, and three grandchildren.

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