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Rose Ponder, food service manager

ChristianityRoman CatholicismFood IndustryLexington MarketPneumoniaMaryland State Fair

Rose Faro Ponder, a retired Notre Dame Preparatory School food service manager who won blue ribbons at the Maryland State Fair for her baking, died of pneumonia Friday at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center. She was 88 and lived in Bel Air.

Rose Faro was born on Fremont Avenue and raised near Gwynns Falls. She attended Baltimore City public schools.

Her daughter, Deborah Ponder Mance of Street, said she was the youngest of seven children of Sicilian immigrants who settled in Baltimore in the early 1900s.

"Growing up, she worked at her father's Lexington Market fruit business, an outdoor stall at the corner of Lexington and Greene streets," she said. "During and after World War II, she was employed at the Pittsburgh Plate Glass paintbrush factory in West Baltimore."

Beginning in the mid-1960s, she became a Hecht Co. sales associate at its Northwood branch near her home in Lauraville.

"She was hardworking, independent and self-disciplined, and whatever she did, she did to the best of her ability. She refused to accept less than perfect," her daughter said. "She was not quick to embrace you as friend, but once she did, she would go to the ends of the earth for you."

In the early 1970s, she began her nearly 25 years as food service manager at Notre Dame Preparatory School, where she retired in 1997.

"During her years at Notre Dame Prep, she was dedicated to the students, nuns and lay faculty," her daughter said. "She often put in additional time at home to make homemade breads, cakes and other baked goods for the nuns she revered."

She also used her natural green thumb with flower gardens and a fish pond. Her daughter said she excelled in baking and won state fair blue ribbons for cakes, breads, biscuits and pie crust.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Dominic's Roman Catholic Church, Harford Road and Gibbons Avenue, where she was a member.

In addition to her daughter, survivors include a granddaughter and a great-granddaughter. Her husband of 51 years, Grayson T. Ponder, died in 2000. A son, James G. Ponder, died in 1989.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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