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Elizabeth C. 'Betty' Michaels, homemaker

By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

5:21 PM EDT, June 22, 2011

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Elizabeth C. "Betty" Michaels, a former registered nurse and homemaker who enjoyed baking and cooking, died Saturday of an embolism at the Broadmead retirement community in Cockeysville. She was 103.

She was born Elizabeth Colburn, the daughter of a Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. employee and a homemaker, and raised in Bolton Hill.

She was a 1927 graduate of Bryn Mawr School and earned her nursing degree in 1931 from the Union Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. She worked in the hospital's Robert Garrett Dispensary until her 1938 marriage to Albert Hillsman Michaels.

Mrs. Michaels later was a volunteer with the Visiting Nurses Association.

Mrs. Michaels and her husband lived in Roland Park and later for many years in a home on Rider Hill Road in Ruxton, where she enjoyed gardening.

Mrs. Michaels also enjoyed cooking, baking and entertaining.

"She was a fabulous baker and was known for her Christmas cookies and Nannie cakes, which is an old family recipe," said a daughter, Elizabeth Michaels "Betsy" Willett of Pinehurst. "The Nannie cakes are moist with a dark chocolate or caramel topping."

She also enjoyed doing needlepoint.

Mrs. Michaels, who had lived at Broadmead for 31 years, also enjoyed spending summers at a family cottage in Bethany Beach, Del.

She liked playing bridge, backgammon and gin rummy.

Mrs. Willett said her mother's longevity was not attributable to any particular regimen.

"She did not drink and stopped smoking when she was 42," she said.

Mrs. Michaels was a member of the L'Hirondelle Club, Elkridge Club and the Greenspring Valley Hunt Club.

Her husband of 64 years, a founder of Riggs, Counselman, Michaels and Downes, an insurance company, died in 2002.

She was a member of St. Martha's Episcopal Church in Bethany Beach and the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., where services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday.

Also surviving are two sons, Albert H. "Hill" Michaels Jr. of Ruxton and George S. Michaels of Lutherville; another daughter, Lucy H. Michaels of Waverly, Ga.; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com