Maggie L. Brown, 102, restaurant cook

June 10, 2006

Maggie L. Brown, a retired restaurant cook and accomplished needleworker, died in her sleep June 3 at Sinai Hospital.

Mrs. Brown died two weeks and two days after celebrating her 102nd birthday, family members said.

She was born Maggie Lena Kellam and raised in Accomac, Va., where she graduated from public schools. As a young woman, she began her career cooking at a hotel in Whispering Pines, Va., and moved to Baltimore in 1935. She briefly worked in several restaurants before taking a job as second cook at the House of Welsh, the historic Guilford Avenue restaurant established in 1900.

"She did all kinds of things, including cutting beef into one-pound steaks," said a daughter, Ardelcie Porter of Baltimore.

From the late 1950s until she retired in 1975, Mrs. Brown was head cook at Camp Tapowingo, in Sweden, Maine. After she retired, Mrs. Brown continued to enjoy cooking for and entertaining family and friends.

"She was known for her turtle soup, home-baked goods and high rolls," Mrs. Porter said.

Mrs. Brown, who lived on Poplar Grove Street for 50 years, stopped cooking when she was 95, though she continued doing needlework until the end of her life.

She enjoyed sewing, crocheting and quilting, and those who received a gift of one of her quilts or afghans felt "quite honored," family members said.

When asked about her longevity, relatives said, Mrs. Brown would reply by saying, "Hard work is good for you. I've worked hard all my life."

She was married for many years to Jerry Brown, who died in 1970.

Services were yesterday.

Also surviving are two sons, Vincent T. Kellam and George H. Kellam, both of Baltimore; another daughter, Willetta Watty of Baltimore; 13 grandchildren; and many great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren Another daughter, Jacqueline Albright, died in 1996.

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