Catherine Iola Michael, 97, Harford philanthropist

September 12, 2005

Catherine Iola Michael, a longtime Harford County resident and philanthropist, died of pneumonia Wednesday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She was 97.

She was born and raised Catherine Iola Riley in the Pleasantville area of Harford County. She was a graduate of Youth's Benefit School, a one-room schoolhouse, whose classes ended at the 10th grade. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, she worked in Harford County as a secretary at Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. and Sisk & Co., a canning company.

In 1939, she married Henry T. Weisheit, and for years the couple owned and operated Shuck's General Store near Aberdeen. He died in 1962.

She was married in 1964 to J. Smith Michael, a banker and canning company owner, who died in 1978.

Long active in Harford County civic and philanthropic affairs, Mrs. Michael had been a member of the Harford County Liquor Board and Equitable Trust Co.'s Harford County Advisory Board.

For years, Mrs. Michael had lived on a farm overlooking the Chesapeake Bay and Swan Creek.

Her philanthropic interests ranged from medical facilities to museums and educational institutions, including the Johns Hopkins University, the Highland School, Johns Hopkins Hospital and Upper Chesapeake Medical Center.

Other institutions included the Boys and Girls Club of Harford County, Steppingstone Museum, Friends of Jerusalem Mill, Havre de Grace Decoy Museum, and Havre de Grace Lockhouse Museum.

Mrs. Michael was a communicant of St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church, 257 S. Law St., Aberdeen, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. today.

Surviving are a stepdaughter, Beverly M. Close of Bel Air; and two nephews, James W. Riley of Fallston and John M. Riley Sr. of Fountain Grove, Pa.

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