Local foundations and businesses, including WJZ-TV, soon contributed. "You can't say 'no' to Bea when she asks for something," said Jonathan H. Klein, former WJZ-TV vice president and general manager, in an interview with The Sun in the 1980s.

Mr. Potts and his colleagues raised $190,000 to refurbish the houses that became the shelters.

But along with Mrs. Gaddy's celebrity came problems. Donations of food, the deeds to houses and thousands of dollars poured into her office. City officials almost closed one of her shelters in 1994, citing housing code violations.

Her food center was cited for poor bookkeeping and failure to file state and federal forms documenting the donations she received. She straightened out her books and never let the accusations stop her work.

Concern over Mrs. Gaddy's health arose in 1998, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

"Ironically, the one life I neglected was my own. For well over a decade I felt lumps in my breast but didn't do anything about it," she wrote in her autobiography.

"In the event I can no longer continue, my children, who've worked by my side, will take over the operation," she wrote. This week, her survivors announced plans to continue her life's work.

The funeral will take place Tuesday at New Shiloh Baptist Church, 2100 N. Monroe St., with a wake at 11 a.m. and a "homegoing service" beginning at noon.

She is survived by two sons, Michael Brooks of Baltimore and John Fowler of Rockingham, N.C.; three daughters, Pamela Thomas, Saundra Briggs and Cynthia Campbell, all of Baltimore; three brothers, Mottie Fowler of Rockingham, N.C., Pete Young of New York City and Tony Fowler of Orlando, Fla.; a sister, Mable Beasly of Massachusetts; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Her husband, Lacy Gaddy, a professional cook whom she married in 1967, died in 1995.

Sun staff writer Gady A. Epstein contributed to this article.