Frances R. Tierney dies at age 82

Legal secretary, volunteer and gardener

September 16, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | Baltimore Sun reporter

Frances R. Tierney, a retired legal secretary and longtime volunteer who was also an avid bridge player, died Sunday of respiratory failure at Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

The Towson resident was 82.

Mrs. Tierney, the daughter of Italian immigrants, was born Filomena Renzulli in Southport, Conn., and raised in Fairfield, Conn., where she was a 1945 graduate of Roger Ludlowe High School. After graduating from high school, she completed a two-year secretarial training program, family members said.

She married John H. Tierney, who was also a Fairfield resident, in 1957.

The couple moved to Detroit, where Mr. Tierney worked for Travelers Insurance Co., and then to Hartford, Conn. In 1968, they settled in Towson.

During the 1970s, Mrs. Tierney worked as a legal secretary and personal assistant to Julian Smith, president of Chesapeake Television, the parent company of WBFF-Channel 45.

From 1982 until the late 1980s, Mrs. Tierney worked as a legal secretary at Sentinel Title Corp.

Mrs. Tierney was an active member of the Newcomers Club and a longtime volunteer for Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland and in the gift shop of Greater Baltimore Medical Center. She also had been active in Republican politics.

Mrs. Tierney enjoyed gardening.

"She was known for popping up in neighbors' yards early in the morning, bringing muffins or biscotti, or to plant and weed their gardens," said a daughter, Barbara A. Tierney of New York City.

"Her neighbor, Bridget Zienty, herself a gardener, said that 'two women in housecoats at 7 a.m. tend to get to know each other,' " Ms. Tierney said.

An outstanding bridge player, Mrs. Tierney was a member of the Bridge Group of Towson.

"She played bridge three times a week for more than 60 years. That's a lot of bridge and thousands of games," said her daughter with a laugh.

She also was a skilled cook who enjoyed entertaining family and friends, and was a member of the Italian Food & Wine Advocates, which meets six times a year at a local Italian restaurant.

Mrs. Tierney also enjoyed traveling to Italy.

"She was the kind of person who seemed to be acquainted with everyone in town, linking old residents with new, young friends with old," her daughter said.

She was a communicant of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, where a Mass of Christian burial was offered Thursday.

In addition to her husband and daughter, Mrs. Tierney is survived by another daughter, Susan E. Tierney of Brooklyn, N.Y., and three grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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