Ethel Wagandt Galvin
Ethel Wagandt Galvin

Ethel W. Galvin, a Bryn Mawr School trustee, died of lymphoma Aug. 29 at the Blakehurst retirement community in Towson. The former Poplar Hill resident was 86.

Born Ethel Allen Wagandt in Baltimore, she was the daughter of George Taylor Wagandt and Lillie Dickey Wagandt. She was a great-granddaughter of William James Dickey, a Baltimore County textile mill owner who lent his name to Dickeyville. He also owned Oella.


"Ethel and I shared much together as we were growing up on Blythewood Road. We took long walks in Roland Park, rode at Hechter's riding academy [in Druid Hill Park] and got sent on an excursion up the St. Lawrence River in Canada under the watchful eye of an elderly cousin," said her brother, Charles L. Wagandt II of Baltimore. "We put together our entrepreneurial skills in the ACE Company, which comprised the first letter of my sister Anne, myself, and Ethel. In those days you could buy a candy bar for a nickel and three for a dime. When we bought three at a time and sold each for a nickel, we made a 50 percent profit."

Mrs. Galvin attended Calvert School and was a 1945 Bryn Mawr School graduate, where she remained active in alumnae affairs. She earned a degree in classics from Goucher College. She then taught for a year at Oldfields School. She also worked for the city's old Department of Public Welfare.

She married Thomas Keough Galvin Jr., a sales engineer. She and her husband and their children lived in Paris in the early 1960s when he represented the Ellicott Machine Co. in dredging sales.

While living in Paris, she corresponded extensively with nearly 20 family members and friends in Baltimore.

She returned to her home on Poplar Hill Road and belonged to the Junior League of Baltimore and served on the Women's Board of Kernan Hospital. She was a trustee of Bryn Mawr School. Family members said she retained lifelong friendships with her classmates. She had a Bryn Mawr School vanity plate 0045. She also sat on the advisory board to the head of the school.

Mrs. Galvin was also a director of the family business, W. J. Dickey & Sons, Inc.

"Ethel loved tooling around in her MG," said her brother. "Then she won a Union Memorial Hospital raffle that presented her with a BMW. Henceforth, that was the car of her choice."

He recalled that his sister then bought a share of a racehorse. "It was an investment that did not produce a winner," he said, adding that "Ethel was a winner in so many ways. She walked erect and with quiet dignity. She spoke softly and enjoyed a good chuckle. Her style tended to pastels and cheerful yet conservative colors."

He said she adapted to computer use and enjoyed sending friends messages. Her brother said she enjoyed her friendships and was a devoted grandmother. She spent summers in Cape May.

"Ethel successfully fought lymphoma many years but recently learned that the next step was chemotherapy," he said. "She rejected that. In her amazingly methodical way she organized all phases of her life, paid all her contributions for the year, got family affairs straightened out and even wrote her own obituary. Ethel was loyal, faithful, courageous and generous."

A former member of the Mount Vernon Club, she belonged to the L'Hirondelle Club in Ruxton.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1316 Park Ave.

In addition to her brother, survivors include a son, Dr. Thomas K. "Todd" Galvin III of Cockeysville; and three grandsons. Her husband died in 2002. Her daughter, Ethel Dickey Galvin, died in 2006.