Charlotte Sue Zentz Lister, retired pharmacist who was Baltimore Museum of Art docent, dies

Charlotte Sue Zentz Lister, a retired pharmacist who was a Baltimore Museum of Art docent, died of dementia July 3 at Inspir Carnegie Hill in New York City. The former Pikesville resident was 98.

Born in Baltimore and raised above her father’s pharmacy, she was the daughter of Milton Zentz and Dora Barshack, a homemaker.


She attended Robert E. Lee School No. 49 and was a graduate of Forest Park High School, where she met her future husband, Leonard Lister. She attended Goucher College and transferred to the University of Maryland where she was the lone woman in her pharmacy school class.

As a pharmacist, she worked alongside her father in his store, initially located on West Pratt Street and later on Park Heights Avenue in Northwest Baltimore.


“Unlike many of the women of her time, Charlotte trained and pursued a professional career as a pharmacist following in her father’s footsteps,” said a friend, Ann Teat Gallant.

She married Leonard Lister, a physician and internist, in 1944. They raised their family in Baltimore and later in Brevard, North Carolina, where she worked in a pharmacy, and in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where he worked in industrial medicine.

She returned to Baltimore and enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.

“She was a docent at the Baltimore Museum of Art and she had a passion for the Impressionists,” said a son, Dr. Philip Lister.

She was a vibrant force.

A granddaughter, Molly Weissman said: “She was a prodigious learner and voracious reader. She was whimsical, often found wearing a mix of patterns and colors. She was caring and kind, though never one to swallow a critique. She was horrified by the politics of today’s world and donated to causes she believed in.”

A friend, Pamela Shuggi, said: Charlotte was a very special person. I have memories of sipping club soda and discussing life with her. She advised me not to give up either on the job front, or in finding a mate. We chatted for some time and she gave me the secret to quitting smoking: celery.”

Her social worker, Ellen Finney, said: “She was a lover of mysteries and embraced the nickname of Sherlock Holmes as she was always quick to point out any discrepancies or things she noticed that were amiss. She paid attention to the minutia and mundane details throughout her days and reported back her findings.”

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Ms. Finney also said: “She was always quick with a curmudgeonly quip followed by a hearty laugh. She was a generous soul, always attempting to gift us with a variety of items that held meaning to her.

“While she was here [living in New York] she taught us so much, and in death she will go on teaching the next generation of future physicians as she chose to donate her body to medical science.”

For many years Mrs. Lister resided at the Colonnade on West University Parkway and belonged to two book clubs.

Her neighbor Debby Hellman said: “Charlotte has been a treasured girlfriend, someone I could talk to about just about anything. I remember during the early weeks of the pandemic ... Charlotte and I had a phone conversation from our balconies.

“It was a delight to clearly see one another from our respective perches while we talked on our phones,” Ms. Hellman said. “Sometimes I would give her a few pieces of rugelach I had made and she would send back some of her rose-sculpted radishes. She was a lovely neighbor and has been a wonderful friend.”

Her friend Ms. Gallant said: “She was smart and stylish. Even when she chose to start wearing sturdy, orthopedic shoes, she would top the outfit with a colorful Marimekko frock and artistic, crafted jewelry.”


Survivors include two sons, Dr. Eric Lister of Portland, Maine, and Dr. Philip Lister of New York City; a sister, Marlene Brown of Delray Beach, Florida; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Her husband, Dr. Leonard Lister, died in 1988. A granddaughter, Liza Lister, died in 1996.