Mary L. Worden, 84

Homemaker, artist

December 26, 2007

Mary Louise Worden, a mother of five who enjoyed watercolor painting, died of breast cancer Saturday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care in Towson. The Glen Arm resident was 84.

Born Mary Louise Veale in Baltimore, she spent much of her childhood in Roland Park and graduated from Western High School in 1941. She developed an early interest in the arts - music, singing and painting - and took courses at the Maryland Institute College of Art while in high school to develop her painting skills. She enjoyed painting landscapes and still lifes of flowers.

She met her husband, Clee O. Worden Jr., while vacationing in Ocean City on summer break from high school in 1939. Mr. Worden had been dating a friend of hers, but said "it was love at first sight" when he saw her.

"My wife was a very modest woman who had a very regal presence," Mr. Worden said. They married in 1942 at St. David's Church on Roland Avenue. Mr. Worden was a metallurgical researcher whose work took the couple to Washington and Wayne, Pa., for brief stints, but they returned to Baltimore in 1965 and remained in the area.

Mrs. Worden's granddaughter, Laura Gentles, said her grandmother had "three passions in life: her husband, her five daughters (on whom she doted) and her watercolor painting."

"When I was a low reporter on the totem pole at the Associated Press, I would have to work Thanksgiving and Christmas, and she hated the idea of any of her girls missing a holiday turkey meal," said one of her daughters, Nancy W. Horst of Baltimore. "So she'd pack a nice turkey dinner and bring it to the office for me. That's how caring she was."

Mrs. Worden painted prolifically and was particularly fond of capturing the landscapes of New England during family vacations. She returned to the Maryland Institute as an adult and took classes from 1970 to 1972, and also studied at the Schuler School of Fine Arts from 1974 to 1982.

She enjoyed collecting quilts - she had more than 50 around the home, her husband said - and 18th-century antique clocks, silver and porcelain pieces. She was also a spirited bridge player with members of the Women's Club of Roland Park.

In addition to her involvement in the women's club, she was also a member of the Bala Cynwyd Woman's Club in Pennsylvania, the Newcomers Society of Baltimore and the Questers, an antiquing society in Pennsylvania. She was a member of the St. Andrew's Christian Community Church in Roland Park in Baltimore.

Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. David's Episcopal Church in Roland Park.

In addition to her husband and daughter, Mrs. Worden is survived by four other daughters, Carol W. Morris of Baltimore, Mary Joanne Stropp of Vienna, Va., Karen Worden Lancaster of Millbrook, N.Y., and Suzanne Worden Farley of New York; a sister, Hopeton Veale Hurren of London; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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