Mardi Fiocco, 70, nurse, TV worker


Mardi E. Fiocco, a former registered nurse who was interested in the role forensic pathology played in the resolution of crimes, died of heart failure Sunday at her Westminster home. She was 70.

She was born Mardi Norton in Baltimore and raised in Guilford. She was a 1952 graduate of the Institute of Notre Dame and earned her nursing degree in 1955 from the old Mercy Hospital School of Nursing.

Mrs. Fiocco began her nursing career in pediatrics at what is now University of Maryland Medical Center, where she was instrumental in establishing the premature nursery.

While working at the hospital, she met Dr. Vincent J. Fiocco, and the couple married in 1957. While living in New York City in the late 1950s, Mrs. Fiocco was a nurse at St. Vincent's Hospital, New York Hospital, and the Hospital for Special Surgery.

They moved in the early 1960s to Westminster, where Dr. Fiocco, an internist, established his practice.

Mrs. Fiocco, who had stopped nursing, worked in production during the 1970s at Maryland Public Television in Owings Mills.

"She had many interests that ranged from the culture of India to antiques to Indian elephants. She had always loved elephants and would work with them during visits to the Honolulu Zoo, where a cousin was on the zoo's staff," Dr. Fiocco said.

But it was murder and how police solved homicides that grew into a major interest of Mrs. Fiocco's, and she had amassed a rather large library devoted to crime.

"She liked to study actual murders and was fascinated how they were solved. She was especially interested in mass murderers and what made them tick," said her husband, who remains in medical practice.

Mrs. Fiocco spent a year studying with Dr. Russell S. Fisher, a nationally prominent forensic pathologist and teacher who was Maryland's state medical examiner for 35 years until his death in 1984.

Dr. Fisher had garnered a reputation as a meticulous scientist when it came to studying the sometimes confusing pieces of evidence that make up crime scenes and arriving at a resolution in those cases.

"She loved those classes and never stopped talking about them," Dr. Fiocco said.

She often talked over cases with now-retired Carroll County Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold, a longtime family friend.

"Murder was her field, like Agatha Christie. Whenever she heard of a crime, she'd come up with a theory and was a pretty good profiler. And more often than not, she was right," said Judge Arnold.

"Mardi was intelligent, well-read, and sucked up books like a vacuum cleaner. We had lots of discussions about crimes, and she was obviously very well-versed in the subject," he said. "She was especially interested in the psychological end of it and had no tolerance for people of that ilk."

Judge Arnold also recalled her ability as an engaging conversationalist.

"She was a great storyteller and could take the most mundane of stories and make it interesting," he said.

In addition to her criminal studies, Mrs. Fiocco enjoyed travel, collecting antiques, cooking and entertaining.

Services were held yesterday.

In addition to her husband, Mrs. Fiocco is survived by three sons, Vincent J. Fiocco III of Westminster, Michael Fiocco of Ellicott City and Peter Fiocco of Baltimore; two daughters, Kate Fisher of Sykesville and Ann Fiocco of Baltimore; a brother, Jim Norton of Baltimore; a sister, Ellen Cullen of Timonium; and nine grandchildren.

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