Ann E. Stromberg, orthoptist

Ann Elizabeth Stromberg, a retired orthoptist who worked with children with eye conditions and trained medical students during her six-decade career, died of Alzheimer's disease June 4 at Somerford Home in Columbia. The Ellicott City resident was 91.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Catonsville on Delrey Avenue, she was the daughter of Henry Stromberg, a News American advertising salesman, and Edna Amanda Ray, a homemaker. She was a 1941 graduate of Mount de Sales Academy and earned a diploma at Mount St. Agnes College in Mount Washington. She attended George Washington University in Washington.

She was certified by the American Orthoptic Council in 1945. She joined the Wilmer Clinic of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and worked with Dr. Angus McLean, an ophthalmologist. While in Baltimore, she continued her training in orthoptics, a medical specialty in which practitioners detect and diagnose eye disorders such as amblyopia, also known as lazy eye.

In 1948, Dr. Edwin B. Dunphy recruited Miss Stromberg for a post at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, where she taught orthoptics students. She later taught students who were doing their medical residencies.

"She made a two-year commitment — and 60 years later retired from the infirmary," said Dr. B. Thomas Hutchinson, retired assistant clinical professor at the Harvard Medical School who lives in Boston and was an official at the Eye and Ear Infirmary. "Miss Stromberg was well known for her many roles. After the orthoptist training program ended, she helped to train residents. She served as ... educator to hundreds of residents in ophthalmology. She won the love, admiration, and respect of those she taught."

Over her career, Miss Stromberg lectured and supervised thousands of ophthalmology residents, medical students and orthoptic students.

"She took no nonsense from anybody," said Dr. Maida Antigua, a Boston physician. "Everyone came to her with their woes and problems. She was a confidante and a mother confessor. They came to her because she was so kind to all the residents."

Miss Stromberg served as the director of the orthoptic program and as a lecturer on orthoptics at Simmons College in Boston from 1948 until 1982. She also was an instructor in orthoptics for the Harvard Basic Science Course in Ophthalmology from 1949 until 1982. She wrote articles for numerous publications and was a member of the American Association of Certified Orthoptics and the International Orthoptic Association.

She was also involved in Massachusetts Eye and Ear's community benefits program and attended screenings for years at the Neighborhood House Charter School in Dorchester.

"She leaves behind a wonderful legacy of care for so many children over the decades she served at the hospital," said friend and colleague Dr. Melanie Kazlas of Boston.

"Miss Stromberg had a lifelong commitment to her profession, her colleagues and students, her patients, her institution, and especially her residents in ophthalmology," said Dr. Hutchinson. "She served as an outstanding example of those involved in our training who give more than they receive and enjoy doing so."

He said she shared her knowledge of ocular motility and strabismus, a condition where the eyes do not line up correctly.

Family members said Miss Stromberg was an avid traveler and reader and possessed a wry sense of humor. She lived on Beacon Hill and walked to the Eye and Ear Infirmary daily and spent numerous weekends with friends in Newport, R.I.

"She was a generous aunt to many nieces and nephews who enjoyed her twice-yearly visits back to her hometown of Baltimore," said a niece, Ann Feild Didyk of Baltimore.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. July 7 at St. Mark Roman Catholic Church, 27 Melvin Ave. in Catonsville.

Survivors include two sisters, Margaret Snellinger of Ruskin, Fla., and Nancy Sexton of Frederick; and nieces and nephews.

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