Mary Ann McCardell Daily, a former Walters Art Museum public relations director who later worked with a senior citizen agency, died of complications from dementia Saturday at the Augsburg Lutheran Home in Baltimore.
The former Roland Park resident was 84.
Born Mary Ann McCardell in Baltimore, she was raised on Wilmslow Road. She was the daughter of Lee McCardell, a World War II overseas correspondent for The Baltimore Sun and later an editor of the old Evening Sun, and his wife, Nancy Arnold.
Her name appeared in The Sun while her father covered World War II as a Sunpapers war correspondent. He wrote an annual Christmas Day letter, and coined a nickname for her, "Dah." When her father returned in May 1945, he had no key and knocked on the door of the family home. Her sister admitted him and she immediately greeted him.
She was a 1949 graduate of Notre Dame Preparatory School. She received a fine-arts degree from what is now Notre Dame of Maryland University and also received the school's Peggy Steinbughler Award for excellence in arts and crafts.
She also wrote occasional feature articles for the paper. Her son, J. McDonald Kennedy Jr., recalled that she chronicled how the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen men's and boys' choir — which included two of her sons — sang at the 1966 wedding of Luci Baines Johnson, the daughter of President Lyndon B. Johnson, in Washington.
While at The Sun, she was active in the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild and walked a picket line during a 1966 strike.
In 1967, Richard Randall, director of what is now the Walters Art Museum, recruited her to become the institution's director of public relations.
While at the Walters, she handled press and television for the gala opening of the museum's first major expansion — a series of new galleries in a rough concrete addition at the corner of Cathedral and Centre streets in 1974.
She appeared on WJZ-TV as she described the museum opening. She remained at the Walters until 1979.
She enjoyed reading books and newspapers, and submitted essays to The Sun and Evening Sun. In one of these articles, she described a colorful scene of how her sons used their great-great-grandfather's heavy metal candy molds to stretch the leather pockets on their lacrosse sticks.
She wrote a book called "ABC's of Christmas." It was never published, but family members said its pages were read at family gatherings for many years.
A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles St.
In addition to her son, survivors include two other sons; David A. Kennedy and Lee M. Kennedy, both of Baltimore; two sisters, Abby M. Martin of Washington and Sarah M. Young of Port Chester, New York; and five grandchildren. Her marriages to Jerome M. Kennedy and Frank F. Daily ended in divorce.