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Anna Margaret Hergenroeder, retired nurse and volunteer at Mercy Medical Center, dies

Anna Margaret Hergenroeder was active in 11 political campaigns for her family.
Anna Margaret Hergenroeder was active in 11 political campaigns for her family. (Family photo / HANDOUT)

Anna Margaret Hergenroeder, a family matriarch and retired nurse at Mercy Medical Center, where she spent 71 years, died of a heart attack Dec. 26 at University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. She was 102 and was a resident of the Pickersgill Retirement Community.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Homestead Street, she was the daughter of Hildebert Henry Reymann, a machinist, and his wife, Helen Anna Smith, a homemaker and a part-time seamstress. She was a 1937 graduate of the Institute of Notre Dame.

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“As a young girl, Anna was always active. She spent as much time as she could outdoors, particularly at nearby Clifton Park. She enjoyed fencing, tap dancing, playing piano, and was a four-year starter on the Institute of Notre Dame basketball team,” said a family obituary jointly prepared by her nine children.

They said their mother won a sports contest and trip to Lake Placid, New York, and once had thoughts of becoming a gym teacher. She changed her mind and graduated from the Mercy Hospital Nursing School in 1942. She was affiliated with the hospital for 71 years in various capacities.

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She met her future husband, Henry R. Hergenroeder Sr., when they were in elementary school. They married in 1942 and had nine children over 19 years. He served on the Baltimore City Council.

“Anna was a great story teller,” the family obituary said. “One of her better tales related to how she was bed-bound during the final three months of a pregnancy with twin boys. Two of her brothers carried her from the house to a family car in a chair so she could travel to Mercy hospital to give birth. The twin boys’ birth weight was the heaviest ever recorded in Baltimore City at that time. Her record stood for 18 years.”

A 1957 Evening Sun article said of her, “Management and efficiency experts in government and industry would do well to take a page from the book of pretty blue-eyed Anna Hergenroeder.” The article noted what a talented seamstress she was and how she oversaw assigning household tasks to her children. She also painted the rooms in her home.

She made draperies and slipcovers for her home as well as sewing for herself and her daughters. Later she taught herself how to smock, a form of embroidery, and made special-occasion dresses for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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Mrs. Hergenroeder’s husband, Henry, served two terms on the Baltimore City Council.

Her children said she was a “tireless” political campaigner, handled her husband’s correspondence and took phone calls.

“She knew wonderful victories and the misery of defeat,” said her son, Henry Robert “Bobby” Hergenroeder Jr., who himself served in the Maryland House of Delegates for 28 years. “She was active in 11 campaigns within our family. She hosted hundreds of coffee get-togethers where there were always Hergenroeder buns served.”

The pastries she served came from her father-in-law’s Hamilton Avenue bakery.

Mrs. Hergenroeder returned to Mercy in 1965, where she worked various positions, including supervisor of the nursery, part-time evening supervisor, and assistant director of the Department of Nursing.

Mrs. Hergenroeder liked to stay busy and often worked in the emergency department and operating rooms.

“She was a nurturer, caring humanist, astute listener and conversationalist, passionate, and endearing to everyone she met,” the family obituary said. “Anna stopped working as a nurse in 1985, but her affection for the hospital made her stick around for another 28 years as a volunteer.”

She worked at the information desk and the post-anesthesia care unit, managed the gift shop until a paid manager was hired, and later volunteered within the gift shop. She was also involved in the women’s auxiliary and bazaar.

She stopped volunteering at age 94, because, as she said, “I wanted to stop before someone told me to.”

Sister Helen Amos, Mercy Health Services executive chair, said in a letter to the family that Mrs. Hergenroeder “gave of herself so generously and cheerfully” and “contributed to Mercy’s mission.”

Mrs. Hergenroeder ceased driving at 95 because she said she could not distinguish the white lines in the road.

Mrs. Hergenroeder liked music and dancing. Her favorite songs were “Mack the Knife” by Bobby Darin and “Hail Mary, Gentle Woman” by Carey Landry. She and her husband danced to big bands at the Greenspring Inn, at the Alcazar Ballroom and at charity events.

Survivors include six sons, Henry Robert Hergenroeder Jr. of Timonium, James Hergenroeder of Annapolis, Gerard Hergenroeder of Millersville, William Hergenroeder of Hagerstown, Richard Hergenroeder of Pasadena and Jay Donald Hergenroeder of Monkton; three daughters, Diane Sheehan of Timonium, Gertrude Foreman of Hydes and Mary Joe Campanella of Charleston, South Carolina; a sister, Phyllis Rita Whalen of Timonium; 18 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren. Her husband, Dr. Henry R. Hergenroeder Sr., died in 1990.

Services were private.

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