Margaret S. Beall, 105

`grand lady' of GOP was wife, mother of senators

July 27, 2005|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Margaret S. Beall, the wife and mother of United States senators who knew every first lady from Eleanor Roosevelt to Hillary Rodham Clinton, died in her sleep Monday at Kensington Algonquin Assisted Living in Cumberland. She was 105.

Born Margaret Schwarzenbach in Cumberland, she attended the old Allegany County Academy -- the county's first public school -- and Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, Pa.

In 1926, she married J. Glenn Beall, a real estate and insurance broker who became Frostburg's tax collector and then served in the state Senate from 1930 to 1934.

"She was always active in the Republican women's clubs," said her son George Beall, a former U.S. attorney for Maryland who lives in Lutherville. "She did a gender-specific kind of politicking, which was typical of that era."

With her husband's election to the House of Representatives in 1942, Mrs. Beall spent much of her time in Washington and moved easily within the capital's social and political life.

"She divided her time between her Mayflower Hotel apartment and other residences in Washington and her home in Frostburg until she was in her 90s," her son said yesterday. "She knew every first lady from Eleanor Roosevelt forward and helped make Queen Elizabeth comfortable when she attended a University of Maryland football game in 1957."

After her husband defeated Democrat George P. Mahoney to win his first of two terms in the U.S. Senate in 1952, Mrs. Beall became active in the Red Cross work of the Senate Wives' Club, a social organization where she befriended numerous members.

"It seemed as if all the waiters in the Senate dining room knew her," her friend Anne Dankmeyer Hopkins recalled yesterday. "She was a great favorite within the Republican women's movement. She and her friend Bertha Adkins [who oversaw women's affairs for the Republican National Committee] were really the grand ladies of the Republican Party."

Family members said Mrs. Beall often attended Saturday afternoon thoroughbred races at the Pimlico, Laurel and Bowie tracks with her husband. They were frequent guests of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and his aide, Clyde Tolson, at their clubhouse luncheon table at the tracks.

"The annual Senate Wives' Luncheon hosted by the first lady was a command performance for my mother," George Beall recalled. "She attended them from 1952 well into the mid-1990s. It was a great reunion for her. She and Pat Nixon became great buddies."

Mr. Beall lost his seat in 1964 to Democrat Joseph D. Tydings, who was defeated six years later by the couple's son, J. Glenn Beall Jr. of Frostburg.

Mrs. Beall's husband died in 1971.

Long active in Western Maryland civic affairs, Mrs. Beall was the oldest member of the Cumberland Civic Club. She was a member of the Garden Club of Frostburg, the Frostburg Homemakers Club, the Maryland Federation of Republican Women and the Cumberland Country Club.

Mrs. Beall also enjoyed playing bridge.

She was a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Frostburg.

Graveside services will he held at 11 a.m. today at Frostburg Memorial Park.

In addition to her sons, Mrs. Beall is survived by another son, Richard O. Beall of Stevenson; four granddaughters; and two great-grandsons.

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