Mary Shade, 74, helped run family firm

May 01, 2006

Mary E. Shade, the secretary-treasurer of the family construction business she and her husband founded, died of respiratory failure Thursday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. The Lutherville resident was 74.

Mary Billingslea was born in Baltimore. She was a skilled basketball player and graduated from Towson Catholic High School. As an alumna, she regularly participated in fundraisers for the school.

She graduated from a bookkeeping and secretarial school, and she did office and accounting work for the Black & Decker Co.

She married Robert Shade in 1952. While raising a family, she worked from home, applying her sewing knowledge to custom-making curtains and doing seamstress work.

In 1977, she and her husband started Shade Construction Co. Inc., which specializes in commercial and hospital construction. Mrs. Shade assumed responsibility for the financial side of the business and headed the accounting department.

"She never retired. She was active in the business until she died. At the age of 69, she was learning to use the computer to do her accounting on it," said her son Thomas Shade of Grasonville.

She was a member of the Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception in Towson.

She was an avid, trophy-winning golfer and a member of the Country Club of Maryland. She also bowled regularly, and enjoyed fishing and crabbing.

"She was a person of what we call quiet generosity," her son said. He recalled that his mother did such things as stock the refrigerator for weeks for an ailing friend.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10:30 a.m. today at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, 200 Ware Ave.

In addition to her husband and son, survivors include two other sons, Edward Shade of Cockeysville and William Shade of Lutherville; a daughter, Donna Verdis of Hunt Valley; and 12 grandchildren.

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