Margaret M. Noland, 85, bookkeeper, saleswoman for boat dealership

October 17, 2004|By Gina Davis | Gina Davis,SUN STAFF

Margaret M. Noland, a bookkeeper and saleswoman for the family's boat dealership on Pulaski Highway, died Monday at Oak Crest Village of a degenerative brain disorder. She was 85.

Born Margaret M. Rostemeyer and raised in East Baltimore, she was a longtime Rosedale resident before moving to Oak Crest about three years ago.

She attended Patterson Park High School but left school about the 10th grade because she had trouble navigating the building after a sledding accident caused her to have a leg amputated, said her sister, Dorothy Newell of Forest Hill.

Because Mrs. Noland, who wore a prosthesis, possessed such an upbeat spirit, "few people knew she had experienced such trauma," her sister said.

Soon after leaving Patterson Park High, she enrolled in clerical classes at St. Andrew's Commercial School, a church-run school on Monument Street.

Just before the start of World War II, she accepted a clerical job in the accounting department at Johns Hopkins Hospital. During this time, she also volunteered at the hospital.

She married her husband, Jesse D. Noland, in 1949 and worked with him at the boat business he owned.

For many years, the two of them ran the business and enjoyed spending time on boats he designed and built for the family.

"The boat business was pretty much their life," said her daughter-in-law, Cheryl Noland.

From the 1950s into the early 1970s, they were well known among Chesapeake Bay aficionados for their boats, said Mrs. Newell.

One boat in particular that won them acclaim was Cleopatra's Barge, which Mr. Noland had designed and built. Mr. Noland boasted that the 38-foot outboard cruiser was the largest in the world at the time.

A 1958 Sun article described it as "the most unusual boat we've encountered on the Chesapeake this summer."

"This boat is unusual in all aspects. Hers are the lines of the great ceremonial barges of ancient times even though she was produced by modern ingenuity," according to the Sun article.

Promoters of the 1963 movie Cleopatra asked the Noland's to display it outside the Hippodrome Theatre at the film's premiere.

Mrs. Noland enjoyed spending time on the vessels with her husband and son, David, of Hampstead. Some of their favorite cruising spots were along the Chesapeake Bay and Back River. They treasured trips to the Eastern Shore to visit with friends, Mrs. Newell said.

After her husband died in 1978, Mrs. Noland ran the boat business with her son until closing it in 1988.

After retiring that year, she discovered a hidden talent while taking painting classes.

"She had a gift she never knew she had," said her sister. Many of her paintings are hanging in the homes of family members. She was forced to give up painting about 1998 when the brain disorder caused problems with her hand coordination.

Other activities that filled her retirement years included membership in the Senior Star Showcase at Essex Community College, a group of senior citizens who staged productions such as Showboat and Oklahoma.

She also sang soprano and alto for the Sweethearts of Harmony, a group of about a dozen women who performed at nursing homes and retirement communities. She was a lifetime member and the recording secretary for the VFW Auxiliary in the Rosedale Post No. 6508 until about 1995.

"You didn't know Margaret unless you knew she was an active woman," said her daughter-in-law. "She was very independent."

Graveside services were held Thursday at the Gardens of Faith Cemetery in Rosedale.

In addition to her son and sister, Mrs. Noland is survived by another sister, Marie Carl of Hamilton, N.J., and two grandchildren.

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