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Virginia Peddicord, retired Howard County legal secretary, dies

Virginia Peddicord was an active volunteer in Howard County.
Virginia Peddicord was an active volunteer in Howard County.

Virginia Lee Baldwin Peddicord, a retired legal secretary, community leader and church volunteer, died May 19 of hip fracture complications at Arden Courts Memory Center in Pikesville. The Catonsville resident was 97.

Born in Elkridge, she was the daughter of William Vogts Baldwin, an electrician, and Virginia Laynor, a homemaker. Her maternal grandfather, George Laynor, operated an Elkridge general store, and her other grandfather, Thomas ‘Doc” Baldwin, was the mayor of Laurel and editor of the Laurel Leader newspaper.

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She grew up in Elkridge and was a 1940 graduate of Elkridge High School. Her first job at an Elkridge auto dealership involved driving to Baltimore to help pick up cars for the dealership.

“She had no driver’s license, but managed to ferry the cars safely to the dealership,” said her son, Ross DeVries Peddicord of Reisterstown, Maryland Horse Industry board director and former Baltimore Sun horse racing writer.

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Mrs. Peddicord worked during World War II for Westinghouse and was proud of donating over a gallon of blood during the war, her son said.

She also worked with Judge James A. Clark Sr. of the Howard County Circuit Court. She subsequently was a legal secretary for more than 40 years in the law practice of Charles E. Hogg and later his nephew, Richard Kinlein, on Lawyers Row in Ellicott City.

“She presided over many of the land settlements for property transfers initiated by the Howard Research and Development Corp., which built the city of Columbia,” her son said.

At one time she was president of the Howard County Parent Teachers Association, chaired for 20 years the Salvation Army of Howard County and volunteered with the Red Cross and Howard County Heart Association.

In the 1950s Mrs. Peddicord was among 10 women nominated in a contest to be named Howard County’s most influential woman and appeared on a WBAL-TV show, “The Quiz Club.” She lost to Beatrice Pfefferkorn, a family friend.

After retirement, she volunteered for several years as a lay leader for the Methodist church in Nome, Alaska. At age 70, she won a 50-yard dash in the town’s Iditarod Festival and returned home with her favorite sled dog, Lovee, who became her companion for 10 years.

She was a longtime member of the Branch and Twig Garden Club in Howard County and a longtime communicant of Emory Methodist Church in Ellicott City, where she served as its first female trustee and treasurer.

In addition to her son, survivors include her daughter, Cynthia P. Lehmann of Washington, D.C. Her marriage to Howard Norwood Peddicord ended in divorce.

A memorial service will be held later this year.

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