Alice W. ‘Donnie’ Gould, widowed mother of six and longtime administrative assistant to Baltimore County judges, dies

Alice W. Gould obituary photo.

Alice W. “Donnie” Gould — who, as a young widow with six children, spent a quarter century working for Baltimore County District Court and Circuit Court judges — died Dec. 9 of complications from heart disease at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center.


The Towson resident was 94.

Alice Wiley was born in Baltimore to John Douglass Wiley, an insurance salesman, and Alice Catherine Sarson Gould, a secretary, and was raised in Govans where she attended St. Mary of the Assumption parochial school.


After graduating in 1946 from the Institute of Notre Dame, she attended Bard Avon School, then a North Charles Street secretarial and business school for women, and worked as a secretary for the General Elevator Co.

In 1948 she married William Rae Boyd Gould, who was a partner with his father, Robert Gould, in R.B. Gould Lumber, a wholesale lumber business.

The couple settled in Old Original Northwood, where they raised their six children. In May 1969, Mr. Gould, 40, died of cancer.

After her husband’s death, and desiring a “change of scenery for her children, we spent the next three summers in Ocean City,” said a daughter, Lisa W. Fitzpatrick of Towson.

Mrs. Gould’s entrance into the legal world began after her son, William R.B. Gould Jr., appeared before an Ocean City judge.

“At the time, Ocean City didn’t have a District Court and there were visiting judges who stayed seven days a week,” Ms. Fitzpatrick said. “My mother vouched for him and told the judge she knew this nice young man, which led to her legal career.”

During the early 1970s, she began working summers in Ocean City as a bailiff, and in 1972, in an interview with The Resorter, a resort publication that covered Ocean City and the southern Delaware coast, she explained how she wound up with the job.

“Well, you know I didn’t know a thing about what a bailiff did. And when I was asked if I wanted to be a bailiff, I was afraid to turn it down because I didn’t know what it was,” Mrs. Gould told a reporter.


Mrs. Gould admitted that her problem was she’d “sometimes get too involved with the defendants and forget about the victims,” but praised the quality of the Ocean City judges she worked with.

“If there is the slightest doubt about guilt or innocence, then they always decide for the plaintiff,” she said. “I’m sure they feel the state can better afford to be wrong than to mistakenly ruin someone’s life.”

Returning to Towson, Mrs. Gould began a more than two-decade-long career as an administrative assistant to judges of the Baltimore County District Court and later Circuit Court, and retired in 1992 from the Jury Commissioner’s Office.

“She was a fine lady with a super-kind demeanor,” said retired Towson attorney, Herbert R. O’Conor III. “She was kind to all of the lawyers and helped keep us composed when we were impatient.”

Mr. O’Conor added: “When she was secretary to the judges, she kept things moving. She kept the trains running on time.”

Mrs. Gould was universally known as “Donnie,” family and friends said.


“You can imagine all the lawyers, law clerks and judges my mother knows,” Ms. Fitzpatrick wrote in an email. “She had a friend who once said, ‘Do you know how long it takes to walk the boardwalk with Donnie, because all along the walk people are saying hi to her.’”

A social person, Mrs. Gould enjoyed cooking, entertaining family and friends, and was known for her New Year’s party.

For 43 years, she regularly attended the Maryland Hunt Cup, an annual springtime timber race held in Worthington Valley. She always hosted dinner afterward, too, with family and friends at The Valley Inn on Falls Road.

She was also a fan of thoroughbred racing and enjoyed attending her son’s lacrosse games at Calvert Hall College High School and later at the University of Maryland, College Park.

An avid bridge player who was a member of several groups, Mrs. Gould continued playing into her 80s when she was forced to stop because of macular degeneration.

Mrs. Gould resided in Dulaney Towers from 1974 until 2016 when she moved to the Pickersgill Retirement Community in West Towson.


She was a communicant of the Church of the Nativity at20 E. Ridgely Road, Timonium, where a Memorial Mass will be offered Jan. 14 at 11 a.m.

In addition to her daughter Ms. Fitzpatrick, Mrs. Gould is survived by her son, William R.B. Gould Jr. of Parkton; four other daughters, Nancy D. Rinehimer of Towson, Carol B. Lerian of Annapolis, Robin M. Scherer of Raleigh, North Carolina, and Tracey L. Butler of Windham, Maine; 14 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.