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Teresa N. ‘Tess’ Baroody, family matriarch and church singer, dies

Teresa Nancy Baroody sang alto in the St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church choir in Bradshaw.
Teresa Nancy Baroody sang alto in the St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church choir in Bradshaw. (HANDOUT)

Teresa Nancy Baroody, her family’s matriarch and a skilled piano player who sang alto, died of vascular dementia July 19 at the Oakwood Nursing Home in Middle River. She was 90 and lived in Upper Falls.

Born in New Haven, Connecticut, she was the daughter of Richard Geary, a Saint Joseph Hospital maintenance worker and his wife. Margaret Lyden, a homemaker. Her parents were from Ireland.

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Known as Tess, she moved with her family from New Haven to Yeadon, Pennsylvania, and then to Gardenville in Northeast Baltimore. She attended St. Anthony of Padua School and was a 1947 graduate of the Catholic High School of Baltimore. She also attended the Saint Joseph Hospital School of Nursing.

She worked for the A&P grocery chain, Bell Atlantic, Mutual Transportation Company and Seton High School.

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“Tess remembered Northeast Baltimore thoroughfares as being no more than dirt roads where her father taught her to drive at the age of 13,” said her daughter, Brigid Baroody of Cedarcroft. “As a 13-year-old she would take the streetcar to work at S.S. Kresge’s on Lexington Street in downtown Baltimore. She was tall for her age and the manager did not question her.”

Mrs. Baroody lived for many years in Kingsville and in Upper Falls.

“Tess was the matriarch of 10 children, which she had in 12½ years,” her daughter said. “Of the 10, there was one set of Irish twins with an 11½-month age difference. She loved her family, her many dogs throughout the years, and music. Her favorite opera was Der Rosenkavalier.”

Mrs. Baroody was a skilled piano player and favored Cole Porter and Frank Sinatra songs and a Deanna Durbin number, “My Own.” Her children often sang around the piano as Mrs. Baroody accompanied them. She also sang alto in the St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church choir in Bradshaw.

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She enjoyed spending vacations at Ocean City and at Bethany Beach and Fenwick Island in Delaware.

“She passed on her impressive skill of body surfing to her 10 kids,” said her daughter. “She taught and encouraged her kids to recycle, reuse and renew beginning in the 1960s. She was an avid reader, enjoyed Scrabble and pinochle and taking nature walks with her dogs.

“She made trips to Connemara, Ireland, to visit her mother’s family, the Lydens. She was an advocate for women’s rights and was politically progressive. She cared about equality, justice and peace, and she believed in nonviolence and participatory democracy.”

In addition to her daughter, survivors include her husband of 66 years, Samuel A. Baroody, who owned and operated the Mutual Transpiration Co. at Fleet and President streets; five sons, Samuel J. Baroody and Joseph Baroody, both of Upper Falls, William Baroody of Temecula, California, Neal C. Baroody of Stoneleigh, and Paul A. Baroody of Baltimore; four other daughters, Maria A. Baroody, Teresa Fiskum and Patricia von Paris, all of Upper Falls and Bernadette Baroody of Baltimore; 19 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren,

A memorial service is pending.

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