Mary A. Ketchum

[ Age 89 ] The longtime Red Cross volunteer had an outgoing personality that made people feel at ease.

December 16, 2007|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,Sun reporter

Mary A.S. Ketchum, a homemaker and longtime Red Cross volunteer, died of renal failure Dec. 9 at Good Samaritan Hospital. The Loch Raven Village resident was 89.

Mary Amelia Spence was born in Baltimore, and, after being orphaned, was raised by her grandmother and aunts on a farm in Dundalk. She was a graduate of Dundalk High School.

In 1940, she married John F. Ketchum, and while her husband was serving as an Army Air Forces navigator aboard B-17 bombers in Europe during World War II, she worked as a quality control inspector at the old Glenn L. Martin Co. plant in Middle River for the duration of the war.

In 1942, Mrs. Ketchum began volunteering with the Red Cross as a nurses' aide and continued this activity during her husband's 21-year Air Force career.

After Mr. Ketchum retired from the Air Force, where he had attained the rank of major, she worked with the Red Cross in various capacities, including disaster relief and blood donations.

"She continued with her volunteer work until 2002, when she retired because of failing health," said Terry A. Karloff, manager of Red Cross volunteers.

Mrs. Ketchum had spent the past few years with the agency working at the Towson blood donor center on York Road.

"She was well-liked, very friendly and outgoing. She was a very devoted volunteer and will be missed around here," Ms. Karloff said.

She said Mrs. Ketchum had a knack of making people feel comfortable.

"Because she had lived all over the world, she'd tell people stories from her travels," Ms. Karloff said.

"She was a person who could put people at ease with her personality and she was just a very nice person," said Ginny Neuman, a Red Cross volunteer and friend, who had worked with Mrs. Ketchum for 17 years.

"She was wonderful and all the men at the canteen loved hearing her travel stories. Everyone looked forward to coming in here and seeing Mary," Mrs. Neuman said.

Mrs. Ketchum, who had lived in the same Glen Ridge Road home since 1948, enjoyed reading novels and mysteries. She also liked gardening.

She had been a longtime communicant of the now-closed Holy Evangelist Episcopal Church in Canton and attended St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Parkville.

Services were Friday.

In addition to her husband, Mrs. Ketchum is survived by three sons, John F. Ketchum Jr. and Robin M. Ketchum, both of Loch Raven Village, and Timothy W. Ketchum of Dumfries, Va.; two grandchildren; and two great-grandsons.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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