Marie C. Wirth, 88, helped create insurance program

October 03, 2005

Marie C. Wirth, who helped create a program that expanded medical insurance for seniors, died of aspiration pneumonia Sept. 26 at the Pickersgill Retirement Community in Towson. She was 88 and a longtime Loch Raven resident.

Born Marie Catherine Parks in Towson, she graduated from Towson Catholic High School in 1934, said her son, Gary Wirth of Towson.

In 1937 she married Carl A. Wirth of Loch Raven, who was a member of the Maryland National Guard and was stationed in Texas during World War II. Mrs. Wirth traveled frequently by train between Baltimore and Texas during those years.

"There were no Pullmans available. She had to sit up the whole way," her son said of Mrs. Wirth's journeys. "It would basically be all soldiers on board."

Carl Wirth died in 1989.

After high school, Mrs. Wirth worked as a secretary for Black & Decker.

In the late 1950s, Gov. J. Millard Tawes named her an inspector for what is now the State Board of Cosmetologists, her son said.

She started work at Blue Cross and Blue Shield in 1963 and, a few years later, was promoted to lead Blue Shield 65, a program that became a forerunner to what is now known as Medicare supplemental insurance.

A funeral Mass was offered Thursday.

In addition to her son, Mrs. Wirth is survived by a sister, Virginia Parks of Ruxton; and three granddaughters.

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