Margaret A. Vondersmith, SSA aide

The Baltimore Sun

Margaret A. Vondersmith, a retired Social Security Administration administrative assistant and a former Northeast Baltimore neighborhood activist, died Sunday of congestive heart failure at Stella Maris Hospice. She was 92.

Margaret Audrey Ritmiller, the daughter of a city firefighter and a homemaker, was born at home on Carswell Street in Northeast Baltimore.

She was later raised on Gorsuch Avenue and graduated in 1935 from Seton High School.

Mrs. Vondersmith worked as a secretary for Flynn & Emrich Co., a Baltimore cast-iron foundry, before her marriage in 1937 to Thomas Lee Vondersmith Sr.

Mr. Vondersmith, a Social Security Administration computer operations manager, died in 1993.

Mrs. Vondersmith lived in her Louise Avenue home for 68 years before moving in 2005 to Morningside House at Satyr Hill, an assisted-living community.

In the late 1950s, she went to work as administrative assistant at the SSA's old headquarters in the Candler Building in downtown Baltimore. She retired in 1972.

"She was proclaimed the 'Mayor of Louise Avenue' by her neighbors for her diligence in contacting the mayor's office whenever an issue on the street needed attention," said her daughter, Mary Margaret O'Hare of Carney. "She was also a staunch Democrat and a volunteer for Gov. Martin O'Malley when he ran for his first term in the Baltimore City Council."

Mrs. Vondersmith was an avid duckpin bowler and regularly bowled at the Hillendale Bowling Center and Parkville Bowling Lanes.

She was an accomplished needleworker and enjoyed crocheting blankets for family members.

Mrs. Vondersmith was a longtime communicant of St. Dominic Roman Catholic Church, Harford Road and Gibbons Avenue, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today.

Also surviving are a son, Thomas L. Vondersmith Jr. of Perry Hall; 10 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren. Another son, Bernard J. Vondersmith, died in 2005.

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