Marion Snyder Goldstein, a nurse who supervised operating rooms for decades at the now-closed Children's Hospital on Greenspring Avenue, died Tuesday at Stella Maris assisted living in Timonium. The longtime Baldwin resident was 92.
The family was not provided a cause of death, though Mrs. Goldstein's physical and mental health had been in decline for several years, said daughter Deborah Drimer of Lutherville.
Marion Snyder was born in Scranton, Pa., where she was raised and lived across the street from the Nay Aug Park zoo. She regularly visited Tilly the elephant there, often taking a banana as a snack for the pachyderm.
Growing up in Pennsylvania, Mrs. Goldstein was also involved in Girl Scouts and earned the Golden Eaglet, the organization's highest rank at the time. Several of her childhood summers were spent at Camp Archibald, a Girl Scout outpost in Kingsley, Pa.
Mrs. Goldstein trained as a nurse at Hahnemann Hospital in Scranton and moved to Baltimore in the 1940s. At Johns Hopkins, she completed an operating room program for nurses.
Shortly after moving to Maryland, she and another nurse were invited to visit the South River estate of Dr. Albert Goldstein, a noted urological surgeon and longtime head of the division of urology at Sinai Hospital, said Mrs. Drimer. The doctor instructed his two sons to entertain the young ladies, she said.
That trip was the start of a relationship between Miss Snyder and Albert Goldstein Jr. They married in 1948 and moved to the Hamilton Hills neighborhood of Northeast Baltimore, where they raised two daughters.
While living in Baltimore, Mrs. Goldstein was involved in the parent-teacher association at her children's schools, assisted with their Girl Scouting activities and helped organize a community response to leaf-eating beetles. She and Mr. Goldstein also enjoyed attending football games at Memorial Stadium.
In 1973, after their daughters had left the nest, the Goldsteins purchased a home in Baldwin. They lived on three acres there and frequently invited friends over for parties that were centered on the couple's pool and hot tub. Mrs. Goldstein danced and drank scotch at their gatherings.
"Marion never drank anything — never a beer, never a sip of wine — other than scotch and soda," said longtime friend and co-worker Susan Otto.
In spite of her love for pool parties, no one ever saw Mrs. Goldstein sitting around in a wet bathing suit: "Every time you turned around, she had on a new bathing suit," she recalled.
During the three decades the Goldsteins lived in Baldwin, their household always had two collies.
"That was the only kind of dog she would consider," said Mrs. Drimer. Her mother fell in love with herding dogs as a girl, she said.
Mrs. Goldstein lived in Baldwin until her husband's death, after 55 years of marriage, in 2003. Most recently, before being moved to Stella Maris, Mrs. Goldstein resided for four years in a senior community, the Maples of Towson.
In the early 1960s, Mrs. Goldstein started working part-time as an operating room nurse at Children's Hospital, so named because it was founded in the early 20th century to treat children with chronic diseases, like polio. She worked at the hospital, which specialized in orthopedic and plastic surgeries for adults during Mrs. Goldstein's time there, for 30 years.
By the time she retired at age 73, Mrs. Goldstein — or "Goldie," as her co-workers called her — was managing seven operating rooms.
She ran a "tight ship" at the hospital, said Mrs. Drimer. Even so, Mrs. Goldstein managed to get a few autographs from Baltimore Colts players, whose doctors frequently used the hospital's operating rooms, before they went under the knife.
"I can only recall … two of my patients who ever developed a wound infection" after surgery in an operating room looked after by Mrs. Goldstein, said Dr. Charles Silberstein, who used Children's Hospital's facilities for nearly 30 years. "I think that speaks to the way her operating rooms were managed."
"She would put everyone in line," including the doctors, said Ms. Otto, who met Mrs. Goldstein in 1968, when Ms. Otto was a dental assistant at the hospital. Mrs. Goldstein encouraged Ms. Otto to become an operating room technician and hired her to work in the surgeries she managed, Ms. Otto said.
There was little turnover in Children's Hospital operating room staff, Dr. Silberstein said, because everyone liked working for Mrs. Goldstein.
"She built her team so that everyone was willing to go the extra mile," said Elizabeth von Kessler, who worked as a nurse manager at the hospital during Mrs. Goldstein's tenure. "She mentored many of the young who have since gone on to be great additions to the operating rooms all over Baltimore."
Mrs. Goldstein created a warm, fun atmosphere for her employees, Ms. Otto said. For instance, when a medical resident finished a rotation through the hospital's operating rooms, Mrs. Goldstein would congratulate them with a prank cake shaped like breasts — a nod to the plastic surgeries performed there, Ms. Otto said.
"She had a good sense of humor," she said. "And she was just someone who was very fair with her staff."
Working at the hospital was a joy for Mrs. Goldstein, Mrs. Drimer said. In the early morning after at least one snowstorm, her daughter said, Mrs. Goldstein walked out to the closest major street in her scrubs and waved down the plow, asking the driver to clean her street so she could make it to work in time for the day's first scheduled surgery.
A memorial service is being planned for the summer.
In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Goldstein is survived by another daughter, Perry Goldstein of Ayer, Mass., and three grandchildren.
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