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Evelyn Larkin, co-founder of the Swan Lake Swim Club, dies

Evelyn Koehler Larkin, a former bookkeeper who was an organizer and treasurer of a popular Northeast Baltimore swimming club, died of heart disease complications May 14 at Stella Maris Hospice. She was 97 and had lived in Northwood and Guilford.

Born in Baltimore and raised on White Avenue, she was the daughter of Louis A. Koehler, an insurance salesman, and his wife, Anna Mary Schoenlein, a homemaker. She attended St. Dominic School and was a 1940 graduate of the Institute of Notre Dame.

“As a student she discovered she was really good at math and numbers,” said her son, David Larkin, a Loch Raven Village resident. “She could multiply numbers easily and was a very good card player. As children, she would check our math homework.”

While attending high school, she took a streetcar downtown for lunch. At the old Morgan & Millard pharmacy at South and Baltimore streets, she met her future husband, William E. Larkin Jr., a clerk at the soda fountain. They married in 1943.

As a young woman Mrs. Larkin became a bookkeeper for a garment importer, the Nobelt Co. on Harford Road.

She and her husband settled on East Belvedere Avenue in Northwood. She joined her husband in a plan to build a neighborhood swim club on three acres at the intersection of Woodbourne and Belvedere avenues and Perring Parkway. They canvassed the neighborhood, recruited neighborhood friends, collected deposits from more than 200 original members and stockholders in the proposed Swan Lake Swim club.

“They took the name from a nearby street, Swansea Road. The property was vacant and could not be developed because it was located on water supply pipes that connected Loch Raven with Lake Montebello. It could hold a parking lot, and there was enough room for a pool.”

The pool opened in 1960. In 2010, Mrs. Larkin and her husband were honored at a 50th-anniversary celebration of the club's founding. Because of her skill with numbers, Mrs. Larkin became the club’s treasurer.

The former Northwood resident, who later lived at Winthrop House in Guilford and Dulaney Towers, moved to Brookdale in 2013.

"It was a magical time and place to grow up,” said her son. “The pool gave the neighborhood a place to enjoy safe summer days.”

Her son described Mrs. Larkin.

"She was the original supermom. She ironed four white shirts every morning, made breakfast, got my Dad off to work, and her three sons off to St Mathew's School. Then she would go to work. She made a home-cooked meal every night, and still did all of the shopping, laundry and cleaning."

He said she enjoyed her kitchen. “She was of German descent and was a meat-and-potatoes kind of cook. She liked to make sour beef.”

She also volunteered in the St. Mathew's School office.

“She could type like the wind,” her son said.

"She would let the nuns borrow the family car almost every weekend, and the she let my brothers and I walk to the Arcade Theater in Hamilton."

"She was not happy unless she was helping someone. She had a generous and giving heart,” her son said “There was nothing she would not do for her family and friends."

“She was well groomed and well dressed and was always smiling and perky. She was always a positive person,” said a family friend, John D. Mangione. “She was an old Baltimore gal. She liked her highball and a trip to Johnny Dee’s Lounge off Loch Raven Boulevard.”

He recalled her trips to Haussner’s and the Chesapeake restaurants.

She played cards weekly with a close circle of friends and was a bookkeeper for the Baltimore Tent Company. a business owned by her son.

At Mrs. Larkin’s request, no funeral was held. Interment is private.

Survivors include two other sons, William E. Larkin III of Chocowinity, N.C., and Barry Larkin of Timonium; six grandchildren; and two great-granddaughters. Her husband of 73 years, a Navy veteran and an American Machine and Foundry salesman, died in 2016.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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