Mary G. Erlandson

[ Age 85 ] The one-time schoolteacher volunteered at GBMC and became chairwoman of the hospital's board.

December 08, 2007|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,Sun reporter

Mary G. Erlandson, former chairwoman of the board of Greater Baltimore Medical Center and avid daffodil grower, died of respiratory failure Monday at St. Joseph Medical Center. The Mays Chapel resident was 85.

Mary Gwynn Carman was born in Baltimore and raised on Club Road in Roland Park.

She was a 1939 graduate of Roland Park Country School, and after earning a bachelor's degree from Bryn Mawr College in 1943, taught school locally for several years.

Mrs. Erlandson began volunteering more than 40 years ago at Greater Baltimore Medical Center and served at one time as president of its hospital auxiliary.

Her dedicated involvement with the auxiliary eventually earned her a seat on the hospital's board of directors, and she later served as its chairwoman from 1984 to 1988.

"She was a wonderfully warm and perfect lady," said Benjamin R. Civiletti, a Baltimore attorney, senior partner at Venable LLP and former chairman of GBMC Corp.

"She always had an objective in mind and moved straight ahead toward it," he said. "She had a certain firmness, and even though she admired doctors, she was frustrated at times with their displays of ego, which she thought had no place in the hospital."

New operating and intensive care rooms, and an obstetrical care center were hallmarks of her tenure as board president, he said.

"But, above all else, her main concern was for the welfare of the patients," Mr. Civiletti said.

Sheila K. Riggs, former board president, was a longtime friend of Mrs. Erlandson's.

"I had known Mary Gwynn as a volunteer since the founding of the hospital. She was so loved and a leader right from the start," Mrs. Riggs said. "She said what she wanted to say in a very quiet way. She was both modest and kind and had sound judgment."

Mrs. Erlandson had intimate knowledge of all of the hospital's various departments, Mrs. Riggs said.

"She was absolutely devoted to the hospital and was determined to have GBMC be the best hospital it could be and inspired those around her to have the same vision," she said.

Mrs. Erlandson also served as president of the Maryland Association of Hospital Auxiliaries and as a director of Blue Cross of Maryland. She had led the United Fund of Baltimore County and had been an active member of the Junior League of Baltimore.

In 1943, she married Quentin E. Erlandson, and for years the couple lived on Burnbrae Road in Towson. Mr. Erlandson, a Martin Marietta Co. engineer, died in 2003.

During the 1970s, when she was president of the Maryland Daffodil Society, her husband became interested in growing miniature daffodils.

Their hilly and shady yard was perfect for the hundreds of daffodils they planted and cultivated. In addition to growing the early-spring flower, she co-chaired many Maryland Daffodil Shows and was a highly sought-after judge at shows throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

In a 1978 article in The Sun, Mrs. Erlandson explained the flurry of activity required before entering a show.

"If a bloom is slow to open, I'll put it under a light for 24 hours a day, though if too tight initially, flower quality is likely to be poorer," she said. "The night before a show I reserve for grooming, cleaning up specks of dirt, coaxing stems into positions, maybe even trying to correct the tilt of a head."

In 1988, she and her husband moved to Guilford, and since 2001 had resided in Mays Chapel.

Mrs. Erlandson enjoyed cooking and entertaining family and friends. She was an avid bridge player and duckpin bowler.

She was also a world traveler and for a number of years, enjoyed spending winters in Bonaire in the southern Caribbean.

Mrs. Erlandson was a longtime member of the L'Hirondelle Club in Ruxton.

She was a communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Carrollton and Boyce avenues, Ruxton, where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. today.

Surviving are a son, Robert C. Erlandson of Lutherville; a daughter, Karen G. Richter of Princeton, N.J.; and five grandchildren.

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