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Virginia S. Frederick, nurse and centenarian, dies

Virginia S. Frederick, a retired registered nurse and centenarian who enjoyed spending summers at the beach, died Friday at Gilchrist Center Towson of congestive heart failure. The former longtime resident of the Woodbrook neighborhood of Baltimore County was 102.

The former Virginia Schmidt, who was born at home on Caroline Street, was the daughter of James H. Schmidt, who founded the Paul M. Adams School Supply Co. in 1905, and his wife, Margaret Janson Schmidt, who worked alongside her husband.

Because of the anti-German hysteria in Baltimore during World War I, her last name was changed to “Smith,” said a granddaughter, Kathleen K. “Katie” Disney of Kingsville.

Mrs. Frederick was a 1935 graduate of Notre Dame Preparatory School and earned her nursing degree from the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing.

She nursed for several years before her marriage to Hugh J. Gallagher Jr. in 1943. It ended in divorce.

While raising her two children in Roland Park, Mrs. Frederick was a class mother and president of the Mother’s Club at St. Mary of the Assumption parochial school, and later worked as a private duty nurse at what is now Mercy Medical Center.

She retired in 1970.

In 1965, she married Eric Frederick, who had been director of transportation for the City of Baltimore, and a member of the Maryland Racing Commission.

After he retired, the couple moved to a home in Preston, where they lived for 15 years before moving to an apartment in Woodbrook.

Mrs. Frederick spent summers for decades at the Sea Mist Apartments in Ocean City, and along with her husband, shared a passionate interest in thoroughbred racing, the Preakness, playing competitive double solitaire, and researching family genealogy.

“She never missed a Preakness and went fully dressed,” Ms. Disney said.

She was also a Baltimore Colts and Ravens fan, and an accomplished needle-pointer.

Her husband died in 2001.

Next to summer, Mrs. Frederick’s favorite time of the year was Christmas. “She started planning next year’s Christmas on Dec. 26, and she wanted your Christmas list by summer,” her granddaughter said.

Mrs. Frederick’s road to longevity began 40 years ago, when she quit smoking. She enjoyed an occasional Champagne cocktail or a some bourbon.

“She did exercise and walked at the Towson Town [Center] mall early in the morning. She was always on the go, and only gave up driving when she was 95,” Ms. Disney said. “She enjoyed traveling by train and never had been on an airplane.”

Her granddaughter said Mrs. Frederick did not “prefer red meat but loved veggies.”

She liked eating crab cakes from Eddie’s on North Charles Street and birthday cakes from Graul’s in Ruxton.

“And she ate a bowl of ice cream every night,” Ms. Disney said.

For the last year, she had been a resident of the Cottages at Perry Hall.

She was a communicant of St. Mary’s Govans.

Plans for a celebration of life Mass are incomplete.

In addition to her granddaughter, she is survived by her son, Hugh J. Gallagher III of Goldsboro; a daughter, Virginia G. Keelty of York, Pa.; four other grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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