Mary Margaret LandrumJuly 14, 1922 ~ January 4, 2018 (age 95)
On January 4, 2018 Mary Margaret Landrum (nee McKeown) Beloved wife of the late William C. "Duke" Landrum. Devoted mother of Benjamin E. Landrum and Sharon A. Landrum. Loving sister of the late John, William and Francis McKeown. Dear aunt of Sheila McKeown.
Friends may call at the CANDLE LIGHT FUNERAL HOME by Craig Witzke 1835 Frederick Rd., Catonsvillle. On Weds. from 2-4 & 6-8pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Thursday 10:00am at St. Mark Chapel. Interment New Cathedral Cemetery.
Mary Margaret McKeown Landrum was born July 14, 1922, the fourth child of Mary “Molly” Lawler and her husband Owen McKeown. They were Irish immigrants who met and married in Boston, then moved to Baltimore where Mary was born. Mary had three older brothers (John, Bill and Francis) who were all born blind. It was quite a surprise to her parents that Mary was born with sight. Mary attended St. Jerome’s Catholic School in Baltimore. She would have loved to go to high school but instead took the 2 year commercial course after her 8th grade graduation. It was during the depression & she felt she should get to work sooner to help the family. Mary found clerical work after graduation. Mary’s mother would let Mary’s beloved dog Toby out to meet Mary at the streetcar stop and escort her home from work. Mary would scrimp & save some of her earnings to take little trips with her good friend Helen, who grew up next door. Mary got her interest in baking from Helen and her mother. A special favorite was their black walnut ice box cookies, which Mary continued to make every year for Christmas.
Mary always felt a strong obligation to care for her family. Mary had to stop working in the late 1940’s to care for her father, who had suffered a debilitating stroke, he passed away two years later. Mary’s mother wasn’t in good health during this time, and she helped take care of her also.
Mary started going out with William Landrum (or Duke as he was called by his family) when her friend Elizabeth married Duke’s friend George. Duke would offer to take Mary with him to visit George and Elizabeth, and they eventually started dating. When Duke asked Mary to marry him, she told him that while she would like to get married, she couldn’t leave her family. He replied that he knew that before he asked her and completely understood. They married on October 14, 1951 at St. Jerome’s Catholic Church in Baltimore. For their honeymoon, they took a road trip up the East Coast. Duke then moved in with Mary and her family in their home on South Carey Street in Baltimore. Mary stopped working to become a full time homemaker.
In March 1953, Mary and Duke welcomed their first child, a son they named Benjamin. Mary’s brother Francis married Ann in 1956 and moved into her home. In 1957, Mary’s only neice Sheila was born to Francis and Ann. A big change happened in 1956 when Duke and Mary purchased a home in Catonsville for the family which included baby Ben, Mary’s mother and brothers John and Bill. The family joined St. Mark’s Parish where Mary became very active as a member of the Mother’s Club and the Sodality. Mary lost her mother in 1960, a few months before the July birth of her second child, a daughter Sharon. Bill married Isabel in 1962 and moved to Irvington.
When Ben and Sharon were young, Mary was very involved in their activities. She was always a chaperone for St. Mark’s class trips, library volunteer at the school, attended every competition when Sharon was a majorette, took day trips with Sharon, Ben and his friends and was always willing to drop off/pick up her children and all their friends. Mary & family were also very involved with her brothers, always taking them to and sometimes participating in meetings, parties and other events related to the Alumni Association of the Maryland School for the Blind and the Maryland Council for the Blind.
Mary had many interests. She learned to sew & made curtains, clothing for Sharon and herself and some crafts. Ben and Sharon will always treasure the fabric Christmas tree she made. Mary passed this interest onto Sharon who got a Bachelor’s degree in Apparel design & has had a career as a theatrical costumer. Mary liked to garden, especially tomatoes, every year she looked forward to the taste of those home grown tomatoes. She passed this love onto Ben, who plants a tomato and vegetable garden each year. She enjoyed traveling. The family would take an annual trip to Ocean City, MD & occasionally other special places. Mary and Duke attended annual conventions which related to Duke’s business, BEL Welding Supply. Mary and Duke joined St. Mark’s Roamin’ Catholics travel Club in the 70’s when it was founded and took trips to many destinations such as England, Ireland, and a Mediterranean cruise that included Egypt and Greece. They took Sharon with them on a trip to the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Mary loved to bowl and was in two duckpin bowling leagues. She was devastated in 1979 when health issues ended her bowling career. Mary always had an interest in recipes and baking- her family thought that she was an excellent cook- but she always doubted her own abilities. Sunday night roast beef was a special family favorite. Mary and Sharon often cooked together & loved to bake Christmas cookies especially Aunt Cousie’s butter cookies & of course, the black walnut cookies. Mary spent every holiday cooking for the extended family.
Mary was heartbroken when she lost her dear brother John in 1972 with whom she had been especially close. When Duke retired in 1978 he joined a retired men’s club and Mary joined the St. Mark’s Seniors where she loved playing pinochle and they took many trips with that group. Her brother Bill moved back in when his wife passed away in 1979. After 32 years of marriage, Mary’s beloved Duke passed away in 1984. Mary’s brother Bill passed in 1987. Mary continued to be very active with the Roamin’ Catholics where she became treasurer for many years. She greatly enjoyed going out to dinner every Thursday with friends after the St. Mark’s Seniors meeting. Mary reconnected with her childhood friend Helen, and they happily spent every Friday shopping and going out to eat until Helen’s health declined. In 1992 Mary’s sister-in-law Elizabeth “Sis” Kelley (also known as Cousie) moved into Mary’s home. Sis joined Mary in the Seniors, the Roamin’ Catholics and Friday outings with Helen. Mary’s remaining brother Francis passed away in 1999 and Sis in 2004.
Mary continued to participate in a few trips but had to stop due to declining health. A few times a year, Sharon would take Mary to a casino where she enjoyed playing penny slots. Until a few years ago, she still attended the annual Roamin’ Catholics Christmas party. After a pulmonary embolism in 2015, Mary spent most of her time at home (except for doctor appointments and getting her hair done.) She enjoyed the daily crossword puzzle, television shows (especially the game shows Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune and cooking shows) and sharing her chair or bed with her adorable grandchildren- the family cats.
Mary was a caregiver most of her life- to her parents, siblings, husband and children. She was a very humble and shy woman- never one to brag. In her last few years, she was the one being lovingly cared for in her home by Sharon and Ben. She was devoted to her family and peacefully passed away, at the age of 95, with her devoted children by her side.