Carolyn Ann McCoy, a registered nurse who served as caretaker and confidante to many Maryland legislators for more than two decades, died Wednesday at Anne Arundel Medical Center of a bacterial infection. She was 68 and lived in Severna Park.
For many lawmakers, Mrs. McCoy's tiny office in the basement of the State House was a regular stop. Sometimes members had a cold or an aching back; other times they wanted to unwind without fear that Mrs. McCoy would repeat what they said.
"It's a very stressful community," said Rosemary Bonsack, a physician and former Harford County delegate. "These guys need help not only physically, but they need someone to talk to periodically."
Born in Easton, Pa., she spent most of her childhood in Lake Forest, Ill. In the early 1950s, she received nursing training at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.
In the mid-1970s, when she went to work at the State House, Mrs. McCoy was one of two nurses in the office. But in recent years, she had been the only one, staying late into the night along with lawmakers as sessions drew to a close.
"It was a counseling room, it was a first-aid room, it was an emergency room," said state Sen. Paula C. Hollinger, a Baltimore County Democrat who knew Mrs. McCoy for 25 years. "She did it all."
Ms. Hollinger, a fellow nurse who sometimes joined Mrs. McCoy for a cigarette at the end of the day, added: "People felt very comfortable stopping at the bottom of the stairs and saying, 'Hey, you ought to take a look at so-and-so. I don't like the way he looks.'"
She took the blood pressure of members who were on medication for hypertension, helped those on weight programs watch their diets and administered allergy shots.
"She gave them a lot of TLC," said her husband, James C. McCoy Jr., a Naval Academy graduate whom she married in 1956.
For her long years of service to the General Assembly, Mrs. McCoy was the subject of several House and Senate resolutions. She was inducted into The Speakers Society of the House of Delegates, becoming one of the few inductees never to have served in the House. She had known every governor since Marvin Mandel, her husband said.
Mrs. McCoy, who had lived in Severna Park for 34 years, had a heart attack in February 1999 and suffered a stroke two months later. She was not able to return to work after that.
Services will be held at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church, 611 Baltimore-Annapolis Blvd., Severna Park.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by two sons, James C. McCoy III of Londonderry, N.H., and Stephen D. McCoy of Easton; a brother, Wesley J. Seibert of Hilton Head, S.C.; and three grandchildren.