Carolyn M. Stayer, a retired social worker and actress who performed with local theater troupes and also appeared in commercials and movies, died from a stroke Tuesday at Oak Crest Village in Parkville. She was 78.
She was born and raised Carolyn Mobus in Everett, Pa., and earned a bachelor's degree in social work in 1948 from Ohio State University and her master's in 1960 from the University of Maryland School of Social Work.
Mrs. Stayer had moved to Baltimore in 1949, and after teaching school for a year she joined the state Department of Human Resources. She had social work positions in Baltimore City and in Baltimore and Harford counties, and she retired in 1990.
"She was a tap dancer when she was growing up in Everett but really got involved with acting and commercials after she retired," said James Stayer, her childhood sweetheart and husband of 57 years.
"She appeared in plays at Center Stage and at the Vagabonds when they were in the old Congress Hotel on Franklin Street and Theater Hopkins," he said.
Mrs. Stayer appeared in TV commercials for the Orioles and Ford automobiles. She also had roles in Homicide: Life on the Street and in John Waters' 1998 film Pecker.
"In Homicide, she played the cashier in a scene that was filmed at Jimmy's in Fells Point, and in Pecker, she was a bag lady," Mr. Stayer said.
Mrs. Stayer stopped performing several years ago, after her health began to fail.
Plans for a memorial service were incomplete yesterday.
Also surviving are a brother, John Mobus of Everett, and a sister, Louise Douglas of Columbus, Ohio.