Dorothy E. Brown

[ Age 84 ] She rang up countless receipts with a smile as night cashier during her 59 years at Haussner's Restaurant.

Mrs. Brown called Mrs. Haussner "Mom" and would call her every day, said Mrs. Brown's daughter.

May 01, 2007|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,sun reporter

;(lines=ql);cl9.5;(dclead=(((4)*(clines) )+190));(adjcl=dclead/10);(psize=adjcl*1 38);(dcptsize=psize/10);(adj=dcptsize/33 );cf21,(dcptsize),(dclead);ec8,Q,capQ;ec7,1,cap2Dorothy E. Brown, who kept the cash register ringing and customers happy during her nearly 60 years of working at the landmark Haussner's Restaurant, died Friday of complications from an infection at Genesis Eldercare Heritage Center in Dundalk. The longtime Highlandtown resident was 84.

"We had 400,000 customers a year and Dorothy knew 300,000 of them," said Frances Haussner George, daughter of founders William Henry and Frances Wilke Haussner, who operated the venerable Highlandtown restaurant with her husband, Steve, until its closing in 1999.

"She was our night cashier and never used an adding machine or calculator. She had a brilliant math mind that was unbelievable," Mrs. George said. "She had a phenomenal memory and knew our customer's names, their children's, and their grandchildren's."

"She was well-respected, a great lady, and very outgoing and friendly," said Annie Louise Barlow, who worked as a waitress at the restaurant for 43 years, until retiring in 1998. "She was very efficient and knew her job."

"At night, when we had to check out, we were supposed to give Mrs. Brown the last three numbers of our Social Security card. There were at least 70 waitresses, and she knew every number and never had to ask what they were," said Stacy Kanely, who retired in 1999 as a banquet waitress.

Dorothy Elizabeth Lagon was born and raised in Bridgeport, Ohio.

"She was 18 when she came to Baltimore to live with a sister who was a waitress at Haussner's. Mom started out as a bus girl, and working at the restaurant was the only job she ever had. She loved it," said her daughter, Dorothy E. Dimick of Dundalk.

"She affectionately called Mrs. Haussner `Mom,' and talked to her every day. She'd call and tell her how they did the previous night," her daughter said.

When Mrs. Haussner died in 2000, Mrs. Brown told The Sun that the Haussners "were both wonderful, wonderful people. She treated her employees the way she wanted to be treated. She never had any malice and was good to all."

During her 59 years at the restaurant, Mrs. Brown never had to confront a robber.

"We had drills on how to deal with that sort of thing, but thankfully, we never had a robbery. However, if it had happened, Dorothy probably would have hit the robber over the head with a bronze," Mrs. George said. "She was a good soul, and no one ever intimidated her."

Her favorite Haussner's dishes, her daughter said, were the fried eggplant and strawberry pie.

In 1990, Mrs. Brown received a "Channel 13 Salute" from WJZ-TV for having worked at the restaurant for half a century.

Mrs. Brown either walked to work or rode a streetcar and later the bus; she never had a driver's license.

"But when people called up for directions, she knew all the roads and how to get them there," her daughter said.

The diminutive Mrs. Brown did not wear a uniform, and only agreed to use a stool to sit at the register near the end of her career, Mrs. George said.

"She had to retire in 1999 because she began suffering from glaucoma and macular degeneration, and she so missed it," her daughter said. "She had no hobbies. Haussner's was her life."

Mrs. Brown was a communicant of Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church, Foster Avenue and Conkling Street, where a Mass of Christian burial was to be offered at 10 a.m. today.

Also surviving are three grandchildren and four great-grandsons. Her marriage ended in divorce.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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