Margaret Gordon Ownley, 88, activist

April 08, 2006

Margaret Gordon Ownley, a retired Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. worker and community activist, died of cardiovascular disease Tuesday at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. The Northwest Baltimore resident was 88.

Miss Ownley was born and raised in Moyock, N.C., and was a graduate of local public schools. She attended Norfolk Business College for a year before coming to Baltimore in the early 1940s.

In 1943, she went to work for C&P Telephone in the accounting department. She retired in 1982 from the company's engineering department.

The longtime Hillenwood Road resident was an active member of the League of Women Voters and began working during the 1960s to combat urban flight.

"It was in rural North Carolina that many of her values took root. It was there that she developed empathy for the disenfranchised, a strong value for education and a dedication for her community," said nephew Bill Plitt of Arlington, Va.

"I have seen how people become frightened when members of other races begin to move into their neighborhood," wrote Miss Ownley in an autobiographical sketch. "I firmly believe that urban deterioration can be prevented through better communication and getting to know your neighbor by mixing a little kindness and becoming involved in community service."

An avid gardener, Miss Ownley helped organize neighborhood painting, planting and lawn care projects.

She was also an active member of the Baltimore Community Relations Commission.

Since 1990, Miss Ownley had lived at the Edenwald retirement community in Towson.

Miss Ownley was an active member and Sunday school teacher at Faith Presbyterian Church, 5400 Loch Raven Blvd., where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. April 29.

Also surviving are a brother, David Ownley of Moyock; and several nieces and nephews.

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