Gertrude Parr, 80, flower, candy vendor


Gertrude Parr, a longtime vendor of flowers and candy at the Broadway Market in Fells Point, died July 16 of heart failure at Stella Maris Hospice in Timonium. She was 80 and lived in Abingdon.

Mrs. Parr, a native of Baltimore, left school in 1930 at age 11 to help support her family. She found work as a nurse's aide at the Maryland School for the Blind, where she worked for about five years.

About 1935, she began work as a seamstress at local tailor shops in Baltimore.

The same year, Gertrude Lutz married George C. Parr. He died in 1973. Mrs. Parr never remarried.

The year before Mr. Parr's death, Mrs. Parr began working as a flower and candy vendor at Broadway Market.

Her most popular item was her homemade fudge.

During the 1980s, Mrs. Parr's Broadway Market stall was featured several times on the "Evening Magazine" television show and in the early 1990s, Gertrude's Candy, as the stall was called, was featured in Baltimore Magazine as the best place in Baltimore to buy flowers and candy.

Mrs. Parr worked six days a week at Broadway Market, from about 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.

She spent much of her spare time making the fudge and other confections she sold.

"All she really knew was work," said her granddaughter, Cheryl Slaski of Perry Hall.

Mrs. Parr also donated baked goods to the local American Legion and Boy Scouts for fund-raisers, and her homemade Easter eggs were big sellers each spring.

Each Valentine's Day, Mrs. Parr usually cut and boxed at least 1,000 roses.

"She would give to everybody," Mrs. Slaski said. "If she said she was going to give you tomatoes, she came with bushels."

The fudge that made Mrs. Parr a local celebrity was a favorite of such frequent customers as comptroller and former governor and mayor William Donald Schaefer and U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski.

In a letter to Mrs. Parr's family, Senator Mikulski wrote that Mrs. Parr was "an amazing woman - a successful business woman, an active community member, and a loving family member."

The senator added, "I have fond memories of visiting with Miss Gertrude in the market while she sold candies and flowers and I know that she will be missed by many."

Among other notable visitors to Gertrude's Candy were Chelsea Clinton, film director John Waters and members of the cast of the television show "Homicide."

In 1996, Mrs. Parr retired from the candy stall, leaving it to be run by her son, George C. Parr, and his wife, who gave up the stall in 1998.

Services were held Thursday at Schimunek Funeral Home in Perry Hall.

In addition to her son, Mrs. Parr is survived by two daughters, Eileen J. Russ of Baltimore and Kitty Miller of Bethany, Del.; three sisters, Marie Ruby, Lillian Novak and Anita L. Lutz, all of Baltimore; two brothers, Raymond Lutz of Baltimore and Louis Lutz of Florida; 15 grandchildren, and 30 great-grandchildren.

Walter C. Marshall Sr., 71, owned Dayton pub

Walter Castle Marshall Sr., a retired gravel company administrator and pub owner, died Monday at his Highland home after an eight-week battle with colorectal cancer. He was 71.

In the late 1970s and 1980s, toward the end of a long gravel-industry career that included work on the Harbor Tunnel, Mr. Marshall operated Marshall's Pub in Dayton.

Born and raised in Arbutus, Mr. Marshall attended Polytechnic Institute but left before graduating. Shortly after his departure from Poly, Mr. Marshall married Angela Mae Platt and began working for gravel companies, mainly in administrative positions.

Mr. Marshall worked at Rockville Crushed Stone Inc. for 36 years; he retired in 1995. He was a member of several service organizations, including the Knights of Columbus, the Lions Club and the Red Cross.

Services were held yesterday at the Church of St. Louis the King, 12500 Clarksville Pike in Clarksville.

Mr. Marshall is survived by his wife of 52 years; two sons, Walter C. Marshall Jr. of Glenwood and Paul J. Marshall of Brookeville; six daughters, Toni M. Rush of Seaford, Del., Carol A. Daniels of York, Pa., Patricia Mae Burford and Mary Jo Marshall of West Friendship, Theresa Lennon of Sykesville and Debbie J. Harvey of Highland; a brother, Duane W. Marshall of Germantown, Tenn.; a sister, Audrey P. Dougherty of Randallstown; 26 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Thelma Jackson donations

Anyone wishing to make a donation to honor the memory of Thelma D. Jackson, a retired Baltimore teacher and school principal who died Wednesday at age 89, may send it to the Thelma D. Jackson Scholarship Fund, in care of Bank of America, 5655 The Alameda, Baltimore 21239-2787.

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