Mathilda Drayer, 77, Baltimore Co. florist

April 14, 2006

Mathilda Drayer, the former owner of a Baltimore County floral business, died of cancer April 7 at the Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. The Middle River resident was 77.

Born Mathilda Koch and known as Till, she was raised in Dundalk and graduated from Sparrows Point High School in 1946.

As a young woman, she worked at her parents' business, Dundalk Florist.

In 1948, she married Earl Drayer, who had a family home on Ebenezer Road in Middle River. Family members said that after a few years of farming, she persuaded her husband to sell flowers grown on the property.

In 1952, she started selling pansies from a roadside stand. The business, Drayer's Florist, expanded. It and now employs 45 people and has two locations and six greenhouses.

"She liked dealing with people and working with brides on their weddings," said her daughter Gloria Drayer of Albuquerque, N.M. "Her customers would come in and ask for Till. Whatever she was doing, she would stop and give them her time - and frequently, a little gift."

She was also active as a board member of the Essex-Middle River Chamber of Commerce.

In 1989, she sold the business to a son, David Drayer of White Marsh, and a daughter, Debbie Drayer of Wilson Point. They continue to own and operate the business.

Her husband of 33 years died in 1981.

She was a member of Our Lady Queen of Peace Roman Catholic Church, where a service was held Monday.

In addition to her son and daughters, survivors include two other sons, Ronald Drayer of Shrewsbury, Pa., and Michael Drayer of Westminster; another daughter, Sharon Drayer Quesenberry of Logan, Utah; two brothers, August Koch Jr. of Dundalk and Robert Koch Sr. of Back River Neck; a sister, Ramona Volz of Dundalk; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

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