Mary M. Lambdin, a retired children's librarian at the Enoch Pratt Free Library who enjoyed celebrating her Irish heritage, died Sunday of heart failure at Oak Crest Village retirement community. She was 97.

Mary Murray was born and raised in East Baltimore. She was a 1933 graduate of Seton High School and earned a bachelor's degree in 1937 from what was then Notre Dame College of Maryland.

For more than 20 years, Mrs. Lambdin worked as a children's librarian at Pratt branches in Northwood and Gardenville, until retiring in 1981.

An accomplished pianist who had a love for Broadway show tunes and musicals, she enjoyed entertaining family and friends at sing-alongs.

"She played all the show tunes and was always the centerpiece of any party," said Peggy Lambdin, a daughter-in-law. "She'd play and we'd sing."

Mrs. Lambdin was proud of her Irish heritage.

"She loved all things Irish," her daughter-in-law said. "She was in her 70s when she traveled to Ireland."

Mrs. Lambdin was a longtime communicant of St. Matthew Roman Catholic Church in Northwood, where she was a lector and member of the Sodality.

The former resident of Northwood and Idlewylde continued her church involvement at the Parkville retirement community, where she had lived since 1997.

At Oak Crest, Mrs. Lambdin also volunteered and hosted "Getting To Know You," which was broadcast over the community's TV network.

Her husband of 59 years, Elmer X. Lambdin, a Social Security Administration personnel administrator, died in 2000.

A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Thursday at the retirement community, 8820 Walther Blvd.

Also surviving are three sons, John Lambdin of Roland Park, Joseph J. Lambdin of Bel Air and Jerome T. Lambdin of Satyr Hill; five grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com