Miriam B. Stokes, job counselor, dies

She worked for state Employment Agency for 20 years

  • Miriam L. Stokes
Miriam L. Stokes
December 14, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | Baltimore Sun reporter

Miriam B. Stokes, a retired job placement counselor who was a longtime active member of Faith Baptist Church, died Saturday of renal failure at Stella Maris Hospice in Timonium. She was 91.

Miriam Lorraine Burns, the daughter of a Canton Railroad crane operator and an educator, was born in Baltimore and raised on Chester Street.

In 1936, she left high school to help support her family.

"She returned to school and graduated from Douglass High School in 1953 and then went on to Coppin State University, where she earned a degree in 1957 in education," said her granddaughter, Miriam M. Stokes of Abingdon.

Mrs. Stokes taught grade school students in city public schools from 1960 to 1963, when she went to work at the old state Employment Agency, now the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, as a job placement counselor.

She retired in 1984.

Mrs. Stokes, a longtime resident of East Preston Street, was honored earlier this year by Faith Baptist Church, where she had been a member for 80 years. She also had been a member of the church choir and was active in many ministries.

Mrs. Stokes sang with other community and national choirs, family members said.

She was an avid world traveler and had visited Africa, Korea, Canada and the Caribbean, as well as Alaska and Hawaii and many other states.

"She lived a long, healthy life, never burdened by illness. She's seen more in a lifetime than most," said Ms. Stokes. "She lived through the Roaring '20s, Great Depression, two world wars, the civil rights movement, and was ecstatic to see the first African-American president elected."

Ms. Stokes said her grandmother was "very proud to be a homeowner during a time when it was very difficult for people of color to purchase a home in East Baltimore."

Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 20 at her church, 833 N. Bond St.

Also surviving are a grandson, William M. Stokes of Abingdon; three sisters, Mozelle Guinn and Ethel Burns, both of Baltimore, and Alzie Berry of Randallstown; and four great-grandchildren. Her son, William Stokes, and her daughter, Miriam Mason, both died in 2004. Her 1937 marriage to William E. Stokes ended in divorce.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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