Mary Lou J. Ross, a receptionist who worked in real estate, dies

Mary Lou J. Ross, a retired receptionist who worked in Baltimore real estate offices

Mary Lou J. Ross, a retired receptionist who worked in Baltimore real estate offices, died of congestive heart failure Thursday at Dove House in Westminster. She was 89 and a former resident of the University One Condominium on University Parkway.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Callaway Avenue, she was the daughter of Robert Keyes, an accountant for Mano Swartz furriers who later opened Keyes Uniforms, and his wife, Flora Wills, a homemaker.


Ms. Ross was a 1948 graduate of Forest Park High School, where she played softball, badminton and basketball. She attended what is now Towson University.

She became a teller at the Union Trust Company in downtown Baltimore. She also worked with her first husband, Bob Johnson, in a printing business they owned. She was vice president of B&M Printing, Northwest Printing in Randallstown and CustoMark Corp. in Westminster.


In 1985 she became a secretary and receptionist at the Hubble Company in Charles Village. She later joined the W.H.C. Wilson real estate firm in Roland Park. She retired from Berkshire Hathaway PenFed Realty in 2015.

“She was a cheery presence at the real estate office,” said her daughter, Nancy Sell of Westminster. “She was a sweet lady.”

While living in Reisterstown in the 1960s and 1970s, she was a vice president of United Reisterstown Residents and was secretary to the board of directors at her home in University One Condominium. She later lived at Brightview Mays Chapel Ridge and at Carroll Lutheran Village.

She was a member of Second Presbyterian Church.

In addition to her daughter, survivors include a son, Jeffrey Johnson of Frederick; two other daughters, Karen Johnson of Smyrna, Georgia, and Pam Johnson Coleman of Bryan, Texas; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Her husband of two years, Ralph A. Ross Jr. a steel salesman for Lyon Conkling, died in 1985. Her first marriage ended in divorce.

Plans for a graveside services are pending.