Mary F. Zorzi, a co-founder of a North Baltimore financial management services firm, died of lung cancer Saturday at her home in the Melrose Apartments. The former longtime Cedarcroft resident was 79.
Mary Elizabeth Fannon, a daughter of a sanitary engineer and homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised on Cloverhill Road in the Tuscany-Canterbury neighborhood.
After graduating from Notre Dame Preparatory School in 1947, she attended what is now Towson University.
She left college and entered the Bard Avon School, a Baltimore business and secretarial school, from which she graduated in 1949.
From 1949 until 1954, when she married William F. Zorzi Sr., a reporter for the Baltimore News-Post and Sunday American, Mrs. Zorzi was a secretary at Garrison Junior High School.
After her marriage, Mrs. Zorzi was a homemaker and spent the next 14 years raising her four children.
"She was all about family, her children and grandchildren. She was also an excellent baker of cakes and enjoyed entertaining her family," said a son, William F. Zorzi Jr., a former reporter and editor for The Sun, who lives in Baltimore.
While her children were small, she was an active member of the Mothers Club of St. Mary the Assumption School, chaired several parish fundraising events and was a Cub Scout den mother. She was later an active member of the Mothers Club at Loyola High School.
In 1968, she returned to the workplace when she took a secretarial position at the State Farm Insurance Co. office in Govans.
Two years later, she took a job as assistant to the director of facilities and physical plant at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, eventually becoming the college's purchasing agent.
In 1979, Mrs. Zorzi left Notre Dame and went to work as an administrative assistant for the Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada on York Road in Anneslie.
The following year, she took a position at a small personal financial management services company, where she worked primarily with seniors, as well as with institutional clients.
In 1984, Mrs. Zorzi and two partners opened a small shop called Daffodils Ltd. at the Roland Park Place retirement community.
Two years later, she and a partner, Betsy S. Wilgis, started the financial services firm of Wilgis & Zorzi Inc.
As she had done earlier in her financial management career, Mrs. Zorzi managed the finances of individual clients and provided bookkeeping services to small companies and organizations, some of which included Roland Park Roads and Maintenance Association, Roland Park Civic League and the Roland Run Club.
She retired in 1996.
Even though she had retired from her own business, she continued to serve one client, her sister, Alice Ann Finnerty, owner of the Turnover Shop on Roland Avenue in Hampden, whose books she maintained for nearly 20 years until stopping in 2004.
"Until February, she worked on Saturdays in the store as a salesperson and helping out in the store," said Mr. Zorzi.
"Customers would always tell me that Mary was the nicest person, and she was. She was well-liked, honest and had a great sense of fairness," said Mrs. Finnerty, who lives in Guilford.
Mrs. Zorzi also liked vacationing at Fenwick Island or Bethany Beach, Del.
Her husband of 51 years, who later became a public relations executive for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland and AAA Mid-Atlantic, died in 2005.
Mrs. Zorzi had been a communicant for 45 years of St. Mary of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church, 5502 York Road, Govans, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today.
Also surviving are another son, Patrick F. Zorzi of Timonium; two daughters, Mary Elizabeth Zorzi of Cedarcroft and Jane R. Zorzi of Rodgers Forge; and six grandchildren.