Patricia "Patsy" R. Connor, a retired nurse who worked and volunteered at Mercy Medical Center for 40 years, died Jan. 4 at her son's home in Towson following a debilitating stroke. She was 87.
Mrs. Connor, who raised seven children from the family's longtime Roland Park home, attended Catholic schools in Baltimore, graduating from the former Mount Saint Agnes High School in the mid-1940s. She went on to earn a nursing diploma in 1949 from what was then known as Mercy Hospital, where she rose to the position of nursing supervisor on the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift. She worked at the hospital for 25 years and continued to volunteer for another 15 years, including helping in the gift shop, planning luncheons for retired nurses and organizing class reunions for old classmates.
Sister Elizabeth Anne Corcoran, who worked as the vice president of nursing during Mrs. Connor's career, said, "Everybody knew Mrs. Connor. They really did." Sister Elizabeth Anne called Mrs. Connor a "very competent nurse," beloved supervisor and loyal volunteer.
"She ran a tight ship, but she was always fair and just," Sister Elizabeth Anne said.
Born in Baltimore as the middle of three children to Margaret Shray and John Patrick Reddington, she grew up in the northeast neighborhood of Ednor Gardens. She met her future husband, Joseph C. Connor, while they were grade school students at the Cathedral School. They were married from 1950 until Mr. Connor's death in 1992.
The Connors' home in the 600 block of W. University Parkway was known for being a gathering place for family, neighbors, classmates and friends — and for the Sunday dinners that frequently drew a dozen or more guests. Mark Lidinsky, whose family has known the Connors since the 1970s, said he remembers the way Mrs. Connor made everyone who attended the dinners feel like family.
"She made you feel right at home," Mr. Lidinsky said, adding that once Mrs. Connor got to know someone she added him or her to her holiday greeting card lists. For years, Mr. Lidinsky said, Mrs. Connor did not forget to send him a card for Saint Patrick's Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or his birthday.
In the late 1980s or early 1990s, the families discovered an even earlier connection, Mr. Lidinsky said. Among a stack of photographs of his father, the late Richard A. Lidinsky Sr., deputy comptroller under eight Baltimore mayors, was one with a young Mrs. Connor from about 1950. The two were by then-Mayor Thomas D'Alesandro's bedside at Mercy for a staged photograph intended to show the mayor working through his hospitalization.
Mr. Lidinsky said his family framed the photograph and gave it to Mrs. Connor, then a nursing student, as a gift.
"Little did my father know or Mrs. Connor know, we would all become great friends," Mr. Lidinsky said Sunday from his home on the Eastern Shore.
Mr. Connor said providing their children with a quality education was paramount to his mother and father, an insurance claims adjuster. All seven of the children were educated in Catholic schools. When the youngest were in grade school, Mrs. Connor went back to work as a nurse after many years as a "full-time mom." She volunteered with Mercy for two years to brush up on her skills and reacquaint herself with standards and practices while also taking classes.
"That was her basic instinct, to be dedicated to service and to serving others," Mr. Connor, of West Chester, Pa., said.
Mrs. Connor remained in the family's Roland Park home until 1999, filling up the large house with sleepovers and baby-sitting adventures with her grandchildren. She lived in assisted-living centers until June, when she had a stroke and, Mr. Connor said, asked to go "home," her son Timothy C. Connor's house in Towson.
Timothy Connor, affectionately known as "Timmy" to his mother, said he was able to share "a great last six months" with her.
A funeral Mass will be offered at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Basilica of the Assumption, 409 Cathedral St. A private interment will be held at New Cathedral Cemetery.
In addition to her sons, she is survived five other children, Mary Love Connor, Joseph Connor, Patrick Connor, Mary Patricia Moulder and Mary Beth Smith. She also is survived by 10 grandchildren two great grandchildrenand a niece.