Betty Loretta Pruce

Age 97: Kernan Hospital volunteer donated crafts, knitted items to charities.

May 10, 2008

Betty Loretta Pruce, a former Kernan Hospital volunteer and homemaker, died of heart disease May 3 at her Northwest Baltimore home. She was 97.

Born Betty Loretta Fox in Windham County, Conn., she moved to Baltimore in 1929 and soon met her future husband, Earl Pruce, who became librarian of the old News American.

Friends said Mrs. Pruce was talented in arts and crafts. Over the years she donated much of her handiwork to charitable institutions for sale in their gift shops. She was also a gift wrapper for Hutzler's department stores in the 1960s and 1970s.

She became interested in rehabilitative services and was an occupational therapy volunteer assistant at Kernan Hospital from 1940 to 1963.

In 1946, she presented the Kernan Hospital with a 22-volume loose-leaf history of the institution from its 1895 beginning. She completed the research with her husband.

Mrs. Pruce was an accomplished baker. After News American columnist Louis Azrael sampled her apple strudel, he sent her a note that said: "I hereby confer upon you the degree of D.D.S., which, in this case, does not make her a dentist, but a Doctor of Divine Strudology."

During World War II, she was a volunteer in the Production Corps of the Baltimore Chapter of the American Red Cross and knitted children's garments for overseas war relief.

Mrs. Pruce was a member of the Orthopaedic Guild of the Kernan Hospital and a former member of the Kovid Guild and the Weinblatt Guild.

Graveside services were held Tuesday.

Her husband of 74 years died last year. Survivors include two sisters-in-law, Ann Solomon and Miriam Fine of Baltimore; and Carole Antwarg of Essex, a friend whom she helped raise.

Jacques Kelly

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