Mary Alice Lare, a retired Carroll County librarian and the first woman to serve on the Hampstead Town Council, died Wednesday of cancer at her home. She was 82.
Born Mary Alice Brown in Hampstead, she was a 1941 Hampstead High School graduate and earned a bachelor's degree from Hood College. After raising a family, she earned a master's degree in library science from Rosary College in River Forest, Ill., in 1974.
Mrs. Lare, whose family had lived in Hampstead for many years, decided to run for Town Council nearly 35 years ago. She won a seat and served for a term.
"She was a vocal lady and needed to voice her opinions," said her daughter, Margery G. Lare Ayers, who also lives in Hampstead.
Mrs. Lare worked for many years at the Westminster branch of the Carroll County Public Library. Family members said she was a skilled research librarian who also collected books and encyclopedias. She also was adept at solving crossword puzzles, which she worked daily. She also collected cookbooks and miniature lighthouses.
Mrs. Lare was named a life member of the Hampstead Fire Company in 2006 and was a past president of its auxiliary. She told family members she had become a fan of fire companies after the family's barn caught fire.
She was a past president of Ladies Auxiliary of the Maryland State Firemen's Association and regularly attended its annual conventions in Ocean City. She was the 2005 recipient of its Honey Award.
In 2001, Mrs. Lare decided to sell a 17-acre family property to the town of Hampstead for a ball field and picnic pavilion. The spot is now Brown Memorial Park and takes its name from her family, who operated a lumber business on the site.
This summer, Hampstead Mayor Haven N. Shoemaker Jr. called at Mrs. Lare's home and honored her for her many years of volunteer work by changing the name of the street where she lived -- formerly First Street -- to Lare Street. He gave her a green metal street sign.
"She was the root and backbone of the family," said a grandson, Jamey Lee Ayers. "She sent cards and never forgot a birthday or holiday. She had neat handwriting and wrote personal notes."
Family members said Mrs. Lare liked to drive around Carroll County in a red sport utility vehicle. She also had a red scooter she used to visit family members in Hampstead.
She was a member of St. Mark's Lutheran Church.
Services were held Saturday at Eline Funeral Home, 934 S. Main St., Hampstead.
Other survivors include two sons, Timothy W. Lare and Thomas H. Lare, both of Hampstead; a brother, Elias Sterling Brown Jr. of Tampa, Fla.; eight grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. Her husband, Grover D. Lare, died in 1984.