Clara W. Armour, switchboard operator, dies

She had worked for BGE

  • Clara W. Armour
Clara W. Armour
July 24, 2011|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

Clara W. Armour, a retired switchboard operator and world traveler, died July 18 at Sinai Hospital from complications of a fall.

The Windsor Mill resident was 93.

The daughter of a farmer and a homemaker, Clara Wall was born in rural Rockingham, N.C., where she received her early education.

When she was 13, she relocated with her family to Morristown, N.J., in 1931, and went to work as a domestic and caring for children.

During World War II, she worked at nearby Picatinny Arsenal as a switchboard operator, and then became one of the first African-American switchboard operators when she took a job at the Veterans Hospital in Lyons, N.J.

She moved to Dundalk in 1955 when her husband, a career Army officer, was transferred to Fort Holabird. In 1960, they moved to Forest Park.

After her children were in school, Mrs. Armour resumed her career as a switchboard operator for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. at its Lexington Street building.

She later worked at the old Veterans Administration Hospital on Loch Raven Boulevard, and in the 1970s, was a switchboard operator at the George H. Fallon Federal Building in downtown Baltimore.

She retired in 1980.

Mrs. Armour was a longtime member of the American Federation of Government Employees. She was also a member of The Companions, a women's club, and the Kappa Silhouettes.

Active in Democratic politics, Mrs. Armour, who moved to Windsor Hill in 2008, was a longtime member of the Baltimore Chapter of the League of Women Voters.

She was a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In her retirement, Mrs. Armour enjoyed traveling. She was an avid flower gardener and liked playing cards with friends.

She also "enjoyed an evening cocktail," said her daughter, Dr. Karen M. Armour, a pediatric endocrinologist, who lives in Windsor Hill.

Mrs. Armour was a collector of antique souvenir spoons and dishes.

Her husband of many years, Thomas M. "Tim" Armour, who retired from the Social Security Administration where he had been a claims examiner, died in 1991.

Services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Monday at the Vaughn C. Greene Funeral Home, 8728 Liberty Road, Randallstown.

Also surviving are a son, Leon Armour of Gainesville, Va.; three sisters, Jamima Branch of Atlanta, Candis Lucas of Tinton Falls, N.J., and Margaret Glover of Ruckersville, Va.; two grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

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