The Rev. Catherine Briscoe, a former cosmetologist who became an ordained minister and founded a Baptist church, died of respiratory failure Sunday at a daughter's Catonsville home. She was 78.
Born Catherine Walker in Baltimore, she was raised on Retreat Street and graduated in 1946 from Frederick Douglass High School. She also studied cosmetology at Carver Vocational-Technical High School.
Mrs. Briscoe later taught cosmetology at Carver and the Apex Beauty Academy, and established Briscoe's Style-Arama Beauty Shop in the early 1960s -- first on Mount Street in West Baltimore, then on East 31st Street, which she operated until closing the business in the 1970s.
She was a graduate of the Baltimore Bible College and became an ordained Baptist minister in the 1970s. Later that decade, she founded Mount Gideon Freewill Baptist Church in her home in the city's Lake Montebello neighborhood and served as its pastor.
"She had not retired, but in recent years spent more time as an evangelist and in an outreach ministry. Her whole life was her ministry," said a daughter, Berdetta V. White of Baltimore.
Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Christ Deliverance Baptist Church, 711 Walnut Ave. in Edmondson Village.
Also surviving are her husband of 56 years, John Briscoe, a retired home improvement contractor; a son, Milton J. Briscoe of San Diego; another daughter, Alease Y. Cobbs of Catonsville; two brothers, Ernest Walker and Solomon Reddick, both of Baltimore; two sisters, Margaret Ray and Rose Henderson, both of Baltimore; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.