Patricia L. Geritz, an administrative assistant who danced with the Chanticleer Lovelies as a young woman, died Feb. 4 of complications from bowel surgery at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care in Towson. She was 74.
Born Patricia Lilly, she was raised in Homeland and attended Notre Dame Preparatory School from kindergarten until she graduated from high school in 1950. She would walk the mile from her home to the school's former location at what is now the College of Notre Dame of Maryland campus.
She sometimes got in trouble with the nuns for sliding down the banister of a tall staircase at the school, recalled her brother, William S. Lilly IV.
"She had fiery red hair and definitely lived up to it," said her daughter, Jocelyn Held of Glen Arm.
An avid athlete, Mrs. Geritz was the captain of the field hockey team at Notre Dame, but dance was her passion.
After graduating from Villa Julie College with an associate's degree in 1953, she danced with a troupe called the Chanticleer Lovelies at the Chanticleer nightclub at Charles and Eager streets, where a nightclub called The Hippo is now.
She also appeared wearing Native American dress in television commercials for American brand beer and was a member of the Debbie London Dance Company.
She met her husband, William F. Geritz Jr., while teaching ballroom dancing. Mr. Geritz died in 2003.
"He was Mr. Maryland Body Builder, and he was trying to get some social graces and ended up with the instructor," Mr. Lilly said.
After settling in Rodgers Forge, the couple threw many parties and surprised friends by hanging their Christmas tree upside down from the ceiling, Mrs. Held said.
"My mom would celebrate every single occasion to the top," she said. Mrs. Geritz decorated the entire house for Valentine's Day and left her children a series of presents on their birthdays, one on the breakfast table, one in the car and one in their lunchboxes.
She worked as an administrative assistant for many years, first at VanSant Dugdale advertising, then for doctors offices and finally as an assistant executive secretary to Govs. Harry R. Hughes and William Donald Schaefer before retiring.
She was active in the local theater community and was a charter member of the Baltimore Actors' Theatre. She also served as a board member of the Baltimore Academy of the Visitation.
After a funeral Mass on Thursday, her body was buried at St. Mary's Cemetery in Homeland. Her grave overlooks the field where she once played sports, her daughter said.
Also surviving are a sister, Lois L. Jones of Guilford; two sons, William F. Geritz III of Columbia and Patrick S. Geritz of Towson; and six grandchildren.