Marie Lorraine Fiset, a retired microbiologist who later changed careers and became a commercial real estate agent, died Sept. 6 at Good Samaritan Hospital of complications from a stroke. She was 80.
Marie Lorraine Gosselin was born and raised in Berlin, N.H. After graduating from Berlin High School, she earned a bachelor's degree in 1948 from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass.
Dr. Fiset, who preferred to be called Lorraine, interned at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Woods Hole, Mass., while a student at Mount Holyoke.
After graduating from college, she worked at the Rockefeller Institute in New York City until receiving a Fulbright scholarship, which allowed her to continue her microbiology studies at the Pasteur Institute in Paris.
While in Paris, Dr. Fiset met her future husband of 48 years, Dr. Paul Fiset, who was also a student at the institute. They married in 1953.
They continued their education at Newnham College at Cambridge University in England, where she earned her Ph.D. in microbiology in 1956.
Dr. Fiset worked as a microbiologist at the University of Rochester and moved to Baltimore with her husband in 1964 when he took a position at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Her husband, who later was chairman of the department of microbiology at the medical school, died in 2001.
Dr. Fiset worked in the department of infectious diseases at the medical school from 1964 until retiring in 1977.
"She was extremely intelligent and so far away and above everyone else when it came to immunology," said Dr. Joseph P. Libonati, a microbiologist and former colleague who now teaches in the microbiology program at the Johns Hopkins University. "She was always a pleasure to deal with and a wonderful person to share a lab with."
In 1977, Dr. Fiset decided on a career change.
"A lot of the research money at that time started to dry up during those years, so she retired," said her son, Peter M. Fiset of Pittsburgh.
"She really missed working as a scientist because she was very much an introvert. When she got involved with real estate, she became an entirely different person," her son said. "She started to do volunteer work. She was no longer introverted but very outgoing."
Dr. Fiset went to work for Robert E. Latshaw Jr. & Co. in Towson.
"She did some residential in the beginning but later switched to commercial. She really enjoyed that, and that's where the money was," her son said.
Dr. Jay S. Goodman, retired chief of medicine at Mercy Medical Center and a professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, is a friend of many years.
"When Lorraine retired, she made the smooth transition to commercial real estate because she wanted to try something new," Dr. Goodman said.
"We later developed a real estate partnership and owned four houses together. We did all the fixing up and other work, and I guess we did that for six or seven years," he said.
"She was always a joy to be around because she had been highly educated and knew a lot about a lot of things," Dr. Goodman said. "She had a wonderful scientific and mathematical mind, and was always very helpful to me because I don't have a mathematical mind."
Dr. Fiset retired in 1997.
She enjoyed working as a volunteer in adult literacy programs and also volunteered with the Assistance Center of Towson, a nondenominational, multichurch food pantry and utility assistance organization.
Dr. Fiset, who had lived in the Hampton section of Baltimore County and moved to Timonium in the 1980s, had been a member of the Hampton Garden Club. She also was a world traveler.
Dr. Fiset was a member of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Hopkins, where she studied Spanish for the past five years.
Since 2002, she had been a resident of Mercy Ridge retirement community in Lutherville.
Dr. Fiset was a communicant of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Roman Catholic Church in Timonium.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. today in the chapel at Stella Maris Hospice, 2300 Dulaney Valley Road.
Also surviving are two daughters, Lauren M. Novak of Towson and Clare A. Bugary of Monterey, Calif.; and three grandchildren.