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Oliver C. WinstonPublic housing pioneerOliver C. Winston,...


Oliver C. Winston

Public housing pioneer

Oliver C. Winston, 86, a pioneer in the field of public housing who helped chart the course of Baltimore urban renewal in the 1950s, died April 25 at the McKerley Health Care Center in Lebanon, N.H.

A well-known innovator in the fields of housing, urban renewal and regional planning, Mr. Winston worked in Baltimore from 1947 to 1959.

He was initially director of the city housing authority, transforming it into the Baltimore Urban Renewal and Housing Agency, which developed the local government's pilot downtown urban renewal project -- Charles Center.

Born in Smithville, Texas, he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in architecture at what is now Rice University.

In 1934, Mr. Winston moved to Washington to work for the new Housing Division of the Department of the Interior, the New Deal predecessor of today's Department of Housing and Urban Development.

During World War II, he was involved in the development of war-related housing in the United States and Puerto Rico.

He was a founding member of the National Association of Housing Officials in 1933, later serving as its president.

As the housing chief in Baltimore, Mr. Winston was credited with removing the agency from charges of politics, favoritism and waste.

He resigned in 1959 to become executive director of the Valley Development Foundation, a privately funded effort that supervised the renewal of downtown Binghamton, N.Y., and other projects in the region.

Mr. Winston taught graduate courses in housing and urban renewal at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and Cornell University in Ithaca N.Y., where he moved in 1965 to became director of Cornell's Office of Regional Planning and Development.

He retired in 1971 and moved with his second wife, Suzanne Spalding Winston, to New Hampshire.

Surviving, in addition to his wife in Hanover, N.H., are three children, O. Cooper Winston Jr. of Wellesley Hills, Mass., E. Perry Winston of New York City and Mary Winston Nelson of Winchester, Mass.; two brothers, P. Eldridge Winston of Austin, Texas, and J. Aubrey Winston of Port Arthur, Texas; a sister, Elizabeth Winston Simons of Edna, Texas; and five grandchildren.

Eleanor Nickerson

Mother of judge

Eleanor R. Nickerson, wife of the late Palmer Rice Nickerson, a founding partner of the Baltimore law firm now known as Whiteford Taylor & Preston, died of cancer Thursday at Huntington Commons in Kennebunkport, Maine.

The former Eleanor Renshaw was active in volunteer work with the USO in Baltimore during World War II and then with the Red Cross at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Northeast Baltimore.

She was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., and came to Baltimore to attend Goucher College. She graduated with a liberal arts degree in 1926, the same year she was married to Mr. Nickerson. Both performed with the Baltimore Vagabond Theater Players, and were enthusiastic antique collectors.

The Nickersons long maintained a summer home at Goose Rocks Beach, Maine. Mrs. Nickerson enjoyed 60 summers there.

After her husband's retirement in 1963, the couple moved to Kennebunkport where Mrs. Nickerson was a member of the Olympian Club and the Kennebunkport Historical Society. Her husband died in 1969.

Mrs. Nickerson is survived by two sons, retired Navy Capt. Richard H. Nickerson of Arundel, Maine, and Judge William M. Nickerson of Baltimore; seven granddaughters; and eight great-grandchildren.

Private services were planned.

Norah Zimmerman

Red Cross volunteer

A memorial service for Norah Elizabeth Zimmerman, an Eastern Shore resident and former Red Cross volunteer in several countries, will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Luke's Episcopal Chapel in Queenstown.

Mrs. Zimmerman, who was 69, died of cancer Thursday at the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda.

The former Norah Zund was born in London, England, and returned to her parents' home in Switzerland as an infant. Her parents moved to the New York City area when she was 3, and she grew up there.

After receiving a bachelor's degree from Queens College at age 20, she entered the U.S. Naval Reserve Midshipman School and was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve.

Upon completion of her active duty, holding the rank of lieutenant, she became an assistant buyer for B. Altman and Co. in New York while putting in one weekend a month as administrative officer in a Naval Reserve power squadron.

After her marriage to Frederick Zimmerman in 1951, she lived in many parts of the world in connection with her husband's naval career. For more than 15 years she worked as a Red Cross volunteer in military hospitals in the United States, Morocco and Turkey. She served as an officer in Episcopal churchwomen's groups, as a district director and area chairwoman for the United Fund, and was active as a Cub Scout leader.

After her husband retired as a Navy captain in 1970, the couple moved to Severna Park, where they lived for seven years before moving to Queenstown.

Mrs. Zimmerman served as acting president of the Fair Oaks Garden Club, was a former member of the Holly Berry Garden Club and was active in the Queen Anne Garden Club. She was a member of the Kent Island Federation of Art, where she exhibited her paintings, and a member of the American Association of University Women.

Mrs. Zimmerman is survived by her husband; two children, Rick Zimmerman and Elisabeth Zimmerman, both of Houston, Texas; and a granddaughter.

Mary H. Sperry

Gift shop owner

A Mass of Christian burial for Mary Hapenny Sperry, who owned both a gift shop and an employment agency in Baltimore, will be offered at 10 a.m. today at the Roman Catholic Church of the Resurrection, at Paulskirk Drive and Chatham Road in Ellicott City.

Mrs. Sperry died Friday of a heart attack associated with diabetes at Baltimore County General Hospital. The Howard County resident was 70.

The former Mary Hapenny was born in Waterbury, Conn., attended schools there and moved to Maryland in 1943 after marrying Baltimorean Clark Stevens Sperry.

Shortly after moving to Baltimore, Mrs. Sperry opened the Madelyn Gift Shop in Parkville, selling high-quality items such as porcelains and English and Bavarian china. She also ran a custom ceramics business from the shop.

For a short period, Mrs. Sperry worked as a detective for a private detective agency in Baltimore. In the late 1950s, she started the Sperry-Whitby Employment Agency downtown.,

In her spare time, she enjoyed quilting and painting on canvas and porcelain.

Mrs. Sperry closed her businesses before moving from Baltimore to Simpsonville in 1962, and nine years ago she moved again to West Friendship.

Surviving, in addition to her husband, a retired vice president of Fraternity Federal Savings and Loan, are a daughter, Madelyn Sperry Springer, and a son, Clark S. Sperry Jr., both of Howard County; two sisters, Betty Levinthal of Kenmore, N.Y., and Alice Adamson of Prospect, Conn.; and three grandchildren.

The family suggested memorial contributions to the American Diabetes Association, Camp Glyndon Scholarships, 2 Reservoir Circle, Suite 203, Baltimore 21208.

Leila L. Beeam

Retired custodian

Leila L. Beeam, a retired school custodian in Baltimore County, died Tuesday after a heart attack at her home in Troy, Ala.

Services for Mrs. Beeam, who was 72, were held Saturday at the Ramah Baptist Church in Troy.

She moved to Alabama from Middle River about 15 years ago. Earlier, she had lived in Essex.

She retired about 20 years ago as a custodian at Red House Run Elementary School. She also worked at Stemmers Run Junior High.

Born in Banks, Ala., the former Leila L. Green was twice widowed. Her first husband was Charles Mabius. Her second husband was Zemery Beeam.

She is survived by a daughter, Cynthia Gnau of Westminster; a sister, Annie Jordan of Troy; and three grandchildren.

Doris B. Rollins

Store cashier

Doris B. Rollins, who had been a cashier at Stewart's department store on York Road and earlier worked at O'Neill's in downtown Baltimore, died Thursday of leukemia at a hospital in Winter Haven, Fla. She was 79.

Services for Mrs. Rollins were held Saturday in Winter Haven, where she had moved from Baltimore in 1961.

Born in Canada, the former Doris Kennedy had worked as a cashier in Houlton, Maine, before moving to Baltimore as a young woman.

She is survived by her husband, Harry B. Rollins of Winter Haven; a brother, Eugene Kennedy of Houlton; and a sister, Gertrude Kennedy, also of Houlton.

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