Annetta M. Richter, a flower show judge and past president of the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland Inc., dies

Annetta M. Richter, whose love of flowers was reflected in her becoming a flower show judge and serving as president of the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland Inc., died Aug. 7 from heart failure at her Blakehurst Retirement Community home in Towson.

The former Annapolis resident was 91.

“She was an extremely talented woman and we were the closest of friends. We were inseparable,” said Elizabeth “Lesley” Pierce, also a Blakehurst resident. “She had a great sense of humor, was very popular and just great asset to Blakehurst.”

The former Annetta Muir was born and raised in Elwood City, Pa., the daughter of Hugh Muir and Violet Claypoole Muir.

After graduating from high school, she enrolled at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, from which she received her nursing degree in 1948.

Mrs. Richter worked for several years as an operating room nurse at what is now the University of Maryland Medical Center until she was hired in the 1950s by Armco Steel as an industrial nurse.

She met Dr. Conrad L. Richter at a dance for doctors and nurses. The couple married in 1963 and moved to Homeland.

They moved to Annapolis in the mid-1960s. Mrs. Richter, an avid gardener, became an accomplished judge for the National Garden Club Flower Show and taught at the American School of Floral Design in Washington.

In addition, she became a daffodil judge and taught Sogetsu-ryu — an artistic technique of Ikebana or Japanese floral design. Through the years, she taught and gave floral design presentations throughout Maryland, Delaware, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Mrs. Richter joined the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland Inc. in 1963. In the intervening years she chaired numerous committees and was still doing so at the time of her death.

She served as the organization’s president in the 1980s. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1985 she was unable to complete her term due to treatment but remained on the federation board.

Mrs. Richter was also a past president of the Homeland Garden Club, and had been a member of the Woman’s Club of Roland Park, Annapolis Yacht Club and the General Smallwood Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

She was an inveterate knitter and competitive bridge player, and she enjoyed sailing with her husband, shopping and being with friends. Yet her “love of flowers and the art of the arrangement were her passion,” said Anita F. Richardson, a longtime friend who lives in Wiltondale.

“She did not have much family so she became our adopted aunt whom my son called ‘Auntie Annetta,’ ” Mrs. Richardson said.

In 2001, she and her husband moved to Blakehurst, where she served on many committees, including chairing its Flower Committee.

“She did all of the flower arranging at Blakehurst,” Mrs. Pierce said.

Mrs. Richter was a somewhat formal person. “You wouldn’t put the ketchup bottle on the table with the top off when she was coming to dinner,” said Mrs. Richardson with a laugh, adding, “Annetta was a fun person with a great sense of humor and always had a twinkle in her eye.”

She also spoke her mind when circumstances dictated.

“Annetta told it like it was and she always gave it to you straight,” Mrs. Richardson said. “She didn’t believe in beating around the bush, and while she was very forthright, she did it in a nice and proper way.”

Her husband, who had been medical director at the old Glenn L. Martin Co. plant in Middle River and later for Lockheed Martin, died in 2002.

“He loved the water, the bay, walking the beach,” Mrs. Richter told The Baltimore Sun at the time of her husband’s death. “We went to Maine every summer, but his favorite place was Scotland, a remote island named Orkney that had a single malt whisky that he liked. And he loved Venice and Cornwall.”

Mrs. Richter also had an insatiable appetite for travel and enjoyed spending summers in Bass Harbor, Maine, and attending Muir family reunions.

“We were traveling companions and we went everywhere,” Mrs. Pierce said. “We went to China, England, Japan, Scotland, London and took cruises.”

Mrs. Richter is survived by a stepdaughter, Sally Jane McLean, of Alexandria, Va.; a sister, Mary Dilzer of Plattsburg, N.Y.; a grandson; and many nieces and nephews.

Services were private.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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