Betty Fischler Sagi, a retired Baltimore County elementary school librarian, died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, Saturday at Oak Crest Village retirement community in Parkville. She was 77.
She was born Betty Fischler in Bay City, Mich. Her parents moved often as her father, a radio engineer, sought work. She lived in Wellsboro, Pa., before moving to Kenmore, N.Y., where she graduated from high school in 1943.
Mrs. Sagi earned a bachelor's degree in English in 1947 from the University of Buffalo, now the State University of New York at Buffalo. During the 1960s, she took graduate courses in library science at the University of Maryland, College Park.
In 1947, she married Louis S. Sagi, a Baltimore County educator. Mr. Sagi served in World War II as an Air Force bombardier. He died in 1996.
After moving to Fallston in the early 1950s, Mrs. Sagi worked as the part-time librarian at Harford Community College, then located in Bel Air High School.
When Middleborough Elementary School in eastern Baltimore County opened in 1960, she became the school's librarian, a position she held until retiring in 1982.
"She was a gentle and down-to-earth individual that children naturally gravitated to," said her daughter, Ann Sagi Ward of Towson.
In her library, Mrs. Sagi combined a relaxed atmosphere with a love of books and reading.
During the summer months, she operated a summer library at the school, where she initiated reading contests for the pupils and took them on field trips to the old Painters Mill Music Fair for children's shows.
She spent her evenings at home repairing worn books, which she meticulously restored and returned to library shelves.
Mrs. Sagi shared her husband's love of rail travel. Together, the couple had crossed the United States, Canada and Europe by train. They even rode aboard the Orient Express, family members said.
She also enjoyed attending the theater and opera. She was an avid Orioles and University of Maryland basketball fan.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. Feb. 12 at Arlington National Cemetery.
In addition to her daughter, she is survived by a son, Mark S. Sagi of Nottingham, Baltimore County.