Patricia Lee Carey, 61, operating room nurse

April 09, 2005|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Patricia Lee Carey, an operating room nurse and former teacher of the deaf, died of liver disease Sunday at Anne Arundel Medical Center. A Stoney Creek resident, she lived for many years in Catonsville.

She was 61.

Born Patricia Lee Keklak in Wyandotte, Mich., she earned a bachelor's degree in speech and hearing from Michigan State University in East Lansing. After graduation in 1965, she worked as a speech therapist at the School for the Deaf in Flint, taught at St. Hugo's School in Bloomfield Hills and worked at the Lansing School for the Deaf.

In 1968 she moved to Catonsville with her husband, P. Michael Carey, who had been named admissions director at what is now the Community College of Baltimore County. He is now dean of continuing education.

Mrs. Carey worked as a speech therapist for Baltimore County's public schools and as a hearing specialist for a private firm before she left to raise two sons and a daughter.

Family members said that shortly after moving to Baltimore she realized that there were many other young couples who had relocated from other places who were short of friends and needed invitations at Christmas.

"Patricia was always there with a kind word and a casserole," said Karen McKenney, a friend for 35 years.

In 1973 Mrs. Carey started what evolved into a neighborhood Christmas Eve tradition. She invited a number of young couples and their children to the circa-1910 shingled house on Seminole Avenue she and her husband were renovating. Over the years, the party grew to about 200.

"She established this annual gathering. She adored it and was an incredible cook," said McKenney, who noted that Mrs. Carey's hospitality was not limited to the holidays.

"She was extremely generous and compassionate," her friend said. "Her house became known as a kind of Catonsville youth hostel -- she would take in everybody. She was a second mom to everyone in the neighborhood."

The Careys' annual party ended when the couple sold the home in 2001 and moved to a smaller home on the water in Stoney Beach near Pasadena.

While raising her children, she often attended her children's high school and college sports events. She considered getting a medical degree, but decided to enter nursing, and earned a degree at what was then Catonsville Community College.

Mrs. Carey was a nurse for 18 years at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Greater Baltimore Medical Center. Until ill health forced her retirement two years ago, she was a Maryland General Hospital operating room nurse.

The family will hold a private service.

In addition to her husband of 39 years, survivors include two sons, Daniel Carey of Prague, Czech Republic, and Thomas Carey of Baltimore; a daughter, Bryn Elizabeth Carey of Baltimore; her father, Nicholas Keklak of Cadillac, Mich.; sister Kathleen Cline of Cadillac; and brother Bob Keklak of Houghton Lake, Mich.

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