Harriet Frenkil, social worker

Harriet S. Frenkil, a retired social worker who worked in foster care, died of respiratory failure Wednesday at Union Memorial Hospital. The Owings Mills resident was 84.

Born Harriet Schwartzman in Baltimore, she was the daughter of Jean David and Henry Schwartzman, a manager of the Goucher Garment Co. She attended Forest Park High School and after moving to Florida graduated in 1946 from Miami Beach High School.

She enrolled at the University of Florida in Gainesville and studied for a year before her marriage to Erwin "Buddy" Frenkil, an attorney she had known in Baltimore.

After raising her family, Mrs. Frenkil decided to go back to school and earned a bachelor's degree from the Johns Hopkins University and a master's in social work from the University of Maryland.

She initially worked at the Jewish Family and Children's Services and in 1975 joined the Carroll County Department of Social Service; she retired in 2000.

"She gave to hundreds of children the kind of love that she made sure her own grandchildren had every single day," said a grandson, David Frenkil, an attorney who lives Los Angeles. "From the way she described her foster children's suffering, you could tell it was not just a job. She really felt it."

In March 1984, she witnessed the Mayflower vans approaching the Baltimore Colts training facility in Owings Mills to move the team's equipment to Indianapolis.

"She was working late that night and saw the big trucks and bright lights," said a son, Steve Frenkil, an attorney who lives in Pikesville. "She knew it was unusual but didn't understand the implications until the next morning."

Family members described Mrs. Frenkil as a "die-hard Ravens fan" who assembled her sons and grandchildren at her home for games.

Mrs. Frenkil played bridge several times a week. She also enjoyed current events and politics.

"You didn't come to her dinner table unprepared," said another grandson, Eric Frenkil of Washington, D.C. "She was focused and concerned about the world, and she wanted to know your opinions."

She was a member of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.

Services were held Sunday at Sol Levinson and Bros.

In addition to her son and grandsons, survivors also include two other sons, Samuel Frenkil of Dallas and Scott Frenkil of Owings Mills; a sister, Elaine Jacobs of Pikesville; and three other grandchildren. Her marriage ended in divorce in 1976. Her companion of many years, Ralph Haynal, died in 2009.


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