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L. A. Erich, 80, singer, choir leader


Lucille Alice Erich, a retired data processing supervisor and a singer, died Friday of complications from a fall at her home in the Wilson Point section of Essex. She was 80.

Mrs. Erich retired in 1988 as director of data entry for Automatic Data Processing Corp. of Towson. She had earlier worked in data processing at Martin Marietta Corp. and Datatel in Baltimore.

A soprano, she performed on "Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour" television show in the early 1950s. She also appeared on WBAL radio and television and directed a church choir.

"When she sang, you got a thrill in your spine," said a friend, Ella Maldeis of the Middleborough section of Baltimore County. "She was patient and kind as a choir director. She never got mad at us when we sang a wrong note."

Mrs. Erich was a soloist at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sparrows Point from 1943 to 1953. She was music director of Faith Lutheran Church in Middle River from 1961 to 1975.

She sang at weddings and social events and toured with the Chorus of the Chesapeake and the All-American Chorus.

"She gave such attention to detail - the way she dressed, the way she taught us to sing," said one of her choristers, Anita Rosenberger of White Marsh. "We were just amateurs, but the sound she drew out of us was incredible. She didn't settle for anything less than perfection."

Elaine Lyons, a retired church organist who often accompanied Mrs. Erich, recalled: "She was a wonderful songstress. She always followed a lesson one of her teachers taught her - sing with a smile on your face."

In 1954, Mrs. Erich joined the Middle River aircraft manufacturer, the Glenn L. Martin Co. - later Martin-Marietta - as a data-entry key puncher, working with early computers. She worked with the astronauts in the Gemini space program, who took test flights in a simulator at the Middle River plant. She key-punched data taken from these simulated flights.

Lucille Alice Wieder was born in Emmaus, Pa., where she graduated from Emmaus High School. She studied at the Lehigh Conservatory of Music in Allentown, Pa.

In 1940, she married Robert A. Erich Sr., who survives her.

Funeral services were held Monday.

She is also survived by a son, Robert A. Erich Jr. of Timonium; two daughters, Jean W. Strauss of Zionsville, Pa., and Daphne A. Black of Sparks; a sister, Daphne Wambold of Bethlehem, Pa.; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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