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Anne Arundel County

Margaret Mary Bednarsky, former innkeeper at the Historic Inns of Annapolis, dies

Margaret Mary Bednarsky, a former innkeeper at the Historic Inns of Annapolis who spent more than 50 years providing a home away from home to Maryland legislators, died of heart disease Jan. 7 at Baltimore Washington Medical Center. She was 93 and lived in Severna Park.

On Jan. 13 the Maryland Senate adjourned in her honor.

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Colleagues said Ms. Bednarsky, who was known as Miss Peg, left a legacy of kindness, humor and hospitality that has inspired other leaders in Maryland’s hotel, lodging and tourism industries.

State Sen. Ed Reilly was Bednarsky’s representative and proposed adjourning the Senate in her honor Jan. 13, saying she was a constant on State Circle who epitomized Annapolis hospitality.

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She worked at properties near the State House, including the Maryland Inn, Governor Calvert House and the Robert Johnson House, where legislators from far-flung districts would stay during the session. One guest was longtime Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Jr.

“You walked in the door, you knew she would be there and you knew she would be treating you like royalty,” Mr. Reilly said.

She extended the same kindness to thousands of tourists, visitors and residents in her years of service, he said. He said the adjournment in her honor will be in the records of the state Senate in perpetuity.

“It’s saying to the family: ‘We are mourning with you,’” Mr. Reilly said.

Born Margaret Mary Russell in Westfield, Massachusetts, she was the daughter of John Russell, a railroad brakeman, and his wife Bridget Russell. She was 16 years old when she graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Westfield.

She then became a secretary at Anderson Industries and met a young Marine Corps lieutenant, Vincent Bednarsky. They married Dec. 30, 1950.

They came to Maryland with her family when her husband got a job working for the National Security Agency. After her husband’s death, Ms. Bednarsky threw her energy into the inns and providing for her children.

“Peg was really a pioneer for women in the industry,” Maryland Hotel Lodging Association President and CEO Amy Rohrer said.

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Ms. Rohrer said Ms. Bednarsky was warm and had a gentle way about her when working with all sorts of people. She was always interested in learning about the latest in the hotel and lodging industry, traveling to trade shows in New York, and representing Maryland in the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

“She had so much insight she would share with me,” Ms. Rohrer said.

Ms. Rohrer’s predecessor, Mary Jo McCulloch, who worked in the industry with Ms. Bednarsky for at least 40 years, said she was generous in sharing what she had learned in her decades of operating the inns.

“She had that aura about her that was magnetizing. She pulled you to her,” Ms. McCulloch said. “Everyone was ‘Hon.’ ‘Hi, Hon, how are you doing?’”

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Ms. Bednarsky was constantly learning from her peers around the country and bringing what she learned back to Annapolis and Maryland, Ms. McCulloch said, and also had great empathy and listening skills.

“She remembered everything about you. When you saw her again she would ask about your children, your family. She had a good memory for what people were going through,” Ms. McCulloch said.

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“So many people referred to her as Mom. If we walked down the streets of Annapolis, she would be stopped — she was so well known,” said her daughter, Margaret “Peggy” O’Connor. “She sponsored midshipmen from the Naval Academy who stayed at our home over the weekends.”

A funeral Mass was held Jan. 17 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, where she was a member. Plans for a celebration of life will be announced at a future date.

Her husband, Vincent Bednarsky, a 27-year member of the Marine Corps who served in Vietnam and retired as a major, died in 1970.

Survivors include two daughters, Margaret “Peggy” O’Connor of Glen Burnie and Mary Kay Black of Greensboro, North Carolina; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Her son, Thomas Bednarsky, died in 2017.

Baltimore Sun reporter Jacques Kelly contributed to this article.


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