Margo Bates was new to the Guilford neighborhood when she first met Beverly Quinones in 1995.
"She said, 'Would you like to do Flower Mart?' I said, 'What's Flower Mart?'"
Quinones, longtime organizer of the Baltimore Flower Mart and the Guilford Holiday Party, former president of the Women's Civic League and a well-remembered columnist for the Baltimore Messenger, died of an aneurysm July 9, her family said. She had been in ill health for several years.
Her age was not disclosed. Interment was private.
At her funeral service July 13, her son-in-law, David Pride, prayed that she and her family and friends would be reunited in death someday, and added that knowing her, "She's up there planning it right now."
Quinones, a onetime Washingtonian, was a former singer. A soprano, who studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, she sang at three inaugural balls — for Presidents Kennedy, Nixon and Ford, said her husband of 44 years, Carlos.
She was also a former secretary for the Baltimore law firm Piper & Marbury, now DLA Piper.
As the Messenger's Guilford columnist, Quinones reported on community affairs for much of the 2000s, from neighbors' exotic vacations to new neighbors, births and deaths, and the many parties and soirees for which Guilford is well-known.
She also helped organize many of Guilford's annual holiday parties in December, and welcomed the guests as they entered whichever home was hosting that year's party.
"The parties were outstanding," Pride, of Silver Spring, told about 100 people at the funeral Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen on Saturday. "If Beverly was involved, they had to be."
Quinones was former president of the longtime Women's Civic League, which sponsored the Guilford Holiday Party for many years, and of the annual Flower Mart in Mount Vernon, which the league founded.
At the 2012 holiday party, Quinones, frail but back on her feet, received a standing ovation as she turned over sponsorship of the party to the Guilford Association, "where it belongs," she said. She presented the Guilford Association a check for $10,000 from the league's account for the party, a potluck held at a different elegant home in Guilford each year since 1975 as a fundraiser for Guilford's Sherwood Gardens.
Quinones also excelled at doing the New York Times crossword puzzles — in ink, Pride said — and read palms, including for Bates in 1998.
"My palm said I was going to have grandchildren," said Bates, who had none then, and now has seven.
In her columns for the Messenger, Quinones never missed a chance to extol the virtues of Guilford, its mansions and people.
In a typical column from 2008, she wrote, "Autumn leaves of crimson and gold are coloring Guilford with fall's flaming tints; richly-hued golden, bronze and purple chrysanthemums are appearing in stately urns flanking doorways. In celebration of the season, graceful wreaths of bright berries and entwined leaves adorn porticos. Many homes have displays of bright orange pumpkins and gourds at the entrances, steps and walks.
"In anticipation of Halloween, ghosts, goblins and witches are afoot in the form of fanciful decorations.
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"A stroll through the neighborhood in cooler temperatures, while observing all these charming touches, is one of Guilford's great pleasures."
Among those who paid their respects Saturday was Bertha Pinder, president of the Women's Civic League, who said she had known Quinones for about 30 years.
Coming to the service "was a must," Pinder said. "We will miss her."
"If we wanted to do it right, we'd insist on a curtain call for Beverly," Pride said in a reference to his mother-in-law's singing career. "It's a wonder (God) didn't call her home sooner, for an exclusive engagement."