Virginia Decker

[Age 91] Philanthropist devoted to supporting higher education

April 19, 2008|By Jacques Kelly

Virginia Decker, the widow of toolmaker Alonzo G. Decker Jr. and a major donor to educational institutions, died in her sleep April 11 at the Glen Meadows Retirement Community. She was 91.

Born Virginia Gent in the Chestnut Ridge section of Baltimore County, she was a 1933 Towson High School graduate. She later took continuing education courses at Goucher College.

In 1948, she married Mr. Decker, an engineer, and a director and officer of the Black & Decker Corp., a business co-founded by his father in 1910.

She accompanied her husband on his business travels throughout the U.S. and internationally.

She also acted as a host to friends and corporate visitors at their Money Point Farm on the Sassafras River in Cecil County.

Mrs. Decker served on the board of the Keswick Multi-Care Center. In recognition of her support to Washington College in Chestertown, the school named its arboretum in her honor.

She was also a director of the Johns Hopkins University School of Continuing Studies. Last year, the university named a new quadrangle near Wyman Park Drive in honor of the Deckers.

"Virginia and Al Decker gave not just from their pocketbook but from their hearts," said Johns Hopkins President William R. Brody. "Virginia, like Al, was an ardent believer in the power of higher education to transform lives. Her dedication, passion for education and generous spirit, helped transform Johns Hopkins in amazing ways."

A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Hunt's Memorial United Methodist Church, Joppa and Old Court roads.

Survivors include a sister, Shirley Gent Rhodes of Hunt Valley; and nieces and nephews. Mr. Decker died in 2002.

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