Margaret B. Smith, 96, contracting firm co-owner

December 29, 2005

Margaret B. Smith, former co-owner of a Baltimore mechanical and electrical contracting company, died in her sleep Dec. 22 at her Towson home. She was 96.

She was born Margaret Belle Frazier in Statesville, N.C., and lived briefly in Winston-Salem, N.C., before settling in 1922 on East Avenue in Highlandtown with her family.

After graduating in 1926 from Eastern High School, Mrs. Smith went to work as a switchboard operator at the old Montgomery Ward mail-order catalog facility on Washington Boulevard, eventually rising to chief operator.

She also married Walter Sewell Smith in 1926. In 1948, the couple established Smith's Refrigeration Inc. and State Electric Inc.

Mrs. Smith was secretary-treasurer of the two businesses they operated until 1980, when the couple sold them and retired.

Her husband died in 1995.

Mrs. Smith also earned a real estate license and sold homes for many years.

The former Northwood resident, who moved to Towson in 1955, enjoyed cruising the bay with her husband aboard the Rusty III, a 35-foot Chris-Craft sport fishing boat.

She was a member of the Baltimore Yacht Club where she was known by the nickname "Rusty," family members said.

Mrs. Smith was also a world traveler, avid gardener and enjoyed collecting 18th-century furniture. She was a former member of the Women's Club of Northwood and was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star.

She attended Grace English Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lutherville.

Services were held Tuesday at Bonnie Blink, the Maryland Masonic Home in Hunt Valley.

Surviving are two daughters, Elva Mae Smith Lloyd of Severna Park and Jacqueline Smith Washburn Perkins of Lutherville; eight grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and a great-great-grandson.

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