Eugenia "Jean" Bosley, a homemaker who was honored as a "shining star" for 35 years of providing child care in her church's Sunday morning nursery, died of multiple organ failure Monday at her Ruxton home. She was 93.
Born Eugenia Kerr in Hereford, she was the daughter of Dr. Eugene Kerr, a general practitioner, and Elsie Gill, a homemaker. Known as Jean, she was a 1937 graduate of Sparks High School.
Her first job was as a switchboard operator for the old Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co. in Baltimore County.
"She loved the fact she had a career and a job, earning a living and being independent," said her son, David E. Bosley of Naples, Fla. "The Depression had been a tough time for her family."
He said that while she was attending services at Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Baltimore County, she spotted her future husband, Arthur K. Bosley. They married before he entered military service during World War II.
While raising her five children, she became the bookkeeper in her husband's custom home construction business. The couple bought what they called a "farmette" on Ellenham Road in Ruxton. They kept cows, horses and chickens before later developing the property.
As a member of Hunts United Methodist Church in Riderwood, she volunteered to staff a church nursery for a weekly early service.
"I left a newborn son in her care," said church member Kathy Davis, a Lutherville resident. "She was a loving, kind, grandmotherly woman. Children adored her. ... She was one of the reasons my family joined the church. As a young mother, I knew I could trust her."
Mrs. Davis recalled that Mrs. Bosley had treats ready for the children in her care.
"She always had Ritz crackers there," Mrs. Davis said.
In 2009, after she had retired from her volunteer post, Mrs. Bosley was honored by church members for her 35 years of continuous Sunday morning service.
"We called her a shining star of Hunts Church," said Mrs. Davis. "The event truly surprised her. She was a humble person and did not like attention. About 15 of the children she had minded in the nursery returned that day to greet her as adults. It was a wonderful reunion."
Mrs. Bosley was also her church's liaison to the old Wesley Home in Mount Washington. She visited residents at the retirement residence for decades.
David Bosley said his mother reveled in having a house full of family members and guests.
"You could always bring someone home," he said. "My mother would say, "Put another leaf in the table.'"
She was renowned for her ability to make pie crusts.
"She could turn out an apple pie in the blink of an eye," he said.
He recalled his mother's excellent preparation of traditional Maryland dishes.
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"Everyone wanted to be in her house," he said. "There was always a seat for them."
He said she favored Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts and was known for her chestnut dressing and an oyster dressing.
He said she was not a seafood fancier, but nevertheless made much praised crab cakes, crab soup and stuffed rockfish that her husband caught — and she cleaned.
"When people asked for one of her recipes, she never really said no," her son said. "She might give some indications, up to a point, but she was not going to give it all away."
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday at Hunts United Methodist Church, Old Court and East Joppa roads in Riderwood.
In addition to her son, survivors include two other sons, Arthur K. Bosley Jr. of Annapolis and John Dwight Bosley of Ellicott City; two daughters, Bettie J. Dunkin of Ruxton and Dixcy Bosley-Smith of Washington; eight grandchildren; and five step-grandchildren. Her husband of 65 years died in 2006.