Ethel Lane Orem, a retired children's clothing store owner and bookkeeper, died in her sleep Saturday at Schuyler House, a Church Hill assisted-living community. She was 96.
Miss Orem was born and raised in Chestertown. After graduating in the mid-1920s from Chestertown High School, she earned a business degree from Goldey-Beacom College in Wilmington, Del.
She went to work for her father, who had established H.D. Orem and Son, a Case tractor dealership, in Chestertown in 1901.
She took a job in the 1940s with Wee Togs Children's Clothing in Centreville. After the business moved to Chestertown, its name was changed to the Children's Corner. Miss Orem owned and operated the business from the early 1960s until selling it in the 1980s.
She also held a second job as a bookkeeper for Dixon's Auction in Crumpton, where she was bookkeeper for 40 years until retiring in 2000.
A strong, independent woman who worked into her 90s, Miss Orem enjoyed traveling, crocheting and spending time with children. She also was a cat fancier.
She was a member and sang in the choirs of both Church Hill United Methodist Church and Bond Chapel near Chestertown. She was also a member of Sudlersville Homemakers.
"She loved any kind of dancing and continued dancing until her late 80s," said her niece Ann Orem Campbell of Sudlersville.
Services were held yesterday in Church Hill, where Miss Orem lived for more than a half-century.
Her survivors include many nieces and nephews.