Katharine LeVeque, noted for community and outreach work, has died.
Katharine LeVeque, noted for community and outreach work, has died. (Baltimore Sun)

Katharine LeVeque, a Baltimore resident for more than 50 years and an anti-war activist, died of congestive heart failure Jan. 1. She was 82.

Noted for community and outreach work, Ms. LeVeque was born Katharine Tunstall Williams on May 17, 1932, in Asheville, N.C. Her family moved to Florida shortly thereafter, where Ms. LeVeque attended grade school.

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Ms. LeVeque attended Rosary College (now Dominican University) in River Forest, Ill. There she met James R. LeVeque, who was a student at the University in Chicago. They were married when he completed seminary in 1955, and he went on to become an Episcopal priest and mathematics instructor. The couple were married for 57 years until his death in December 2012.

The couple moved to Baltimore in 1958, two children in tow, and had three more children after they arrived. Katharine went on to work for the Baltimore Department of Social Services. She earned a master's degree in social work from the University of Maryland School of Social Work in 1977 and also worked at a YWCA women's shelter at the University of Maryland Medical Center maternity ward.

Ms. LeVeque was a member of Women in Black, an informal peace advocacy group that formed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Known for their black-clad attire, group members hold weekly vigils throughout Baltimore. In 2013, the group won a civil rights lawsuit with the American Civil Liberties Union against the Baltimore police. City officials approved a $98,000 payment to the ACLU to settle the case and agreed to loosen restrictions on when and where demonstrations can take place.

The lawsuit stemmed from an incident in 2003 at the start of the Iraq War; members of the Women in Black say that while protesting the war they were instructed by Baltimore police to move along. Some of them agreed to sign on to a federal lawsuit that the ACLU filed in their behalf.

As part of the settlement the city implemented new rules allowing groups of up to 30 people to protest or pass out fliers without obtaining a permit at all city parks and 10 designated locations, including downtown McKeldin Square.

Ms. LeVeque was also a member of the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Baltimore and took part in a church event that memorialized city children killed in violence, lighting a candle for each child.

In a 2004 Baltimore Sun article, LeVeque was quoted on why the memorial included 18- and 19-year-olds.

"They seem like such kids," Ms. LeVeque said. "They're really not grown-ups, even if they are technically. They're so young. It's so sad. I think about my grandchildren, who are about those ages."

"Katharine demonstrated for everything involving injustice," said Anita Marshall of Baltimore, who said she worked with Ms. LeVeque in the Department of Social Services. "She was always in that space. The most impressive thing about Katharine was that she had absolutely no prejudice. She was always there for people. She never ignored people; they were not invisible to her."

Ms. LeVeque's daughter Mary Anne LeVeque of Takoma Park said that her mother received a distinguished alumna award from Dominican University in 1994, and in 1996 was appointed a member of the Baltimore Commission for Women. She said her mother worked with teenage mothers and provided such services as surgery preparation and smoking cessation therapy.

Ms. LeVeque lived in Charles Village from 1966 until two years ago. She died in hospice care at the Gilchrist Center in Towson, Mary Anne LeVeque said.

Ms. LeVeque is also survived by her sister, Elinor Price Smith, of Asheville, N.C.; daughters Mary Marthe LeVeque Worley of Marshall, N.C., Mary Elizabeth LeVeque of Baltimore, and sons Stephen Gregory Williams LeVeque of Baltimore and Joseph Paul Tunstall LeVeque of Parkville.

Ms. LeVeque is also survived by nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

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A service of burial will be held Feb. 7 at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Asheville, N.C., where Ms. LeVeque was baptized.

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