Ann M. Serio, a Howard County Police Department 911 dispatcher and accomplished Italian cook, died of metastatic melanoma Tuesday at her Perry Hall home. She was 50.
The daughter of Joseph A. Serio, a marketing representative for Phillips 66 Co., and Nancy A. Serio, a homemaker, Ann Marie Serio was born in Baltimore and raised in Gardenville.
She was a 1983 graduate of Catholic High School and earned a bachelor's degree in 1987 in criminal justice from the University of Baltimore.
As a teenager, Ms. Serio knew she wanted to help others and began volunteering at Good Samaritan Hospital on Saturday mornings, delivering trays of food to patients.
Ms. Serio began her career as a police dispatcher with the Ocean City Police Department and since 1988 had been a 911 dispatcher with the Howard County police.
A popular member of the department's communications division, she was known for not tolerating those who had an attitude on the radio, and if she detected that, let them know that she did not approve of it, colleagues said.
"She worked two 7 a.m.-to-7 p.m., shifts followed by two 7 p.m.-to-7 a.m. shifts, and somehow she managed to get her body clock to adapt to it," said a sister, Beverly Serio Edwards of Parkville.
Ms. Serio was known for her unflappable and calming demeanor.
In 2007, she was presented a departmental commendation for her "demonstrated perseverance and devotion to duty while giving CPR instruction for an 11-year-old child during a 911 call."
Ms. Serio, who was diagnosed April 29 with the cancer that took her life, had not retired at her death.
"She jumped right in and agreed to a promising new immunotherapy at Johns Hopkins Hospital," said Ms. Edwards.
Ms. Edwards said she was moved by President Jimmy Carter's recent remarks on his diagnosis of melanoma.
"Ann Marie handled her illness equally as well, with great dignity and grace," she said.
Ms. Serio enjoyed preparing Italian dishes for family and friends and enjoyed going to the beach at Ocean City.
She was a communicant of St. Ursula Roman Catholic Church, 8801 Harford Road, Parkville, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday.
In addition to her sister, Ms. Serio is survived by her husband of two years, Milton Ronald Grahl Jr., a senior systems technician with Teletronic Inc.; a daughter, Macy Marie Serio, 12, a seventh-grader at St. Ursula School; her mother, who lives in Parkville; a brother, Michael J. Serio of Parkville; another sister, Susan Serio Vargus of Philadelphia; and several nieces and nephews.