Sarah Elizabeth “Betty” Thudium, who worked as a nurse in hospitals, schools and medical practices and volunteered for tasks such as laundering linens at Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in northern Baltimore, died of unknown causes Sept. 2 at her home in Towson. She was 76.
Mrs. Thudium, a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native who moved to Maryland with her husband in 2000 to be near their children and grandchildren, had worked at Greater Baltimore Medical Center in Towson before retiring several years ago. Before GBMC, she worked at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in the Rosedale area.
At GBMC, she worked in a medical practice and then in quality assurance for the hospital. At Franklin Square, where she started in 2000, she worked at an outpatient practice for an internal medicine residency program.
Sharon Skozilas, a retired nurse and close friend for more than two decades, said she and Mrs. Thudium were hired around the same time to fill new nursing positions at the Franklin Square practice. Mrs. Thudium was practice manager and Ms. Skozilas was clinical coordinator.
“We were a really good team together. It was a very busy setting, very fast-paced,” with residents rotating through the program, said Ms. Skozilas, who now lives in Pennsylvania. “Betty was … very energetic, very compassionate and caring … with the patients, with the staff and with the physicians.”
“We all have a job description as to what we do in our particular setting as a nurse, and she went above and beyond that,” often helping patients find resources to pay their bills, Ms. Skozilas said.
She said she and Mrs. Thudium developed a lasting friendship that started with the way each approached nursing.
“It wasn’t just a job, it was a calling and we both felt the same way about that,” she said. “It connected us, and our personalities meshed.”
The former Sarah Elizabeth Holliday was born Oct. 3, 1945, in Baton Rouge, the fifth of six children of Francis Peola Holliday and Lydia Ellen Jensen Holliday. Francis Holliday owned and ran Franklin Press, a printing company that’s still in business and run by family members in Baton Rouge. Mrs. Thudium’s mother, Lydia Holliday, did not work but had been trained as a nurse.
Mrs. Thudium graduated from St. Joseph’s Academy, a high school in Baton Rouge, in 1963, and became a registered nurse after attending nursing school at Our Lady of the Lake College School of Nursing, also in Baton Rouge.
She was married for 55 years to John French Thudium Jr., a resident of Towson who survives her. The couple was married Nov. 11, 1967, in Baton Rouge. They raised their son and daughter in Baton Rouge, where they were active in the Catholic community through Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church, St. Thomas More Catholic Church and School, St. Joseph’s Academy and Catholic High School.
Mrs. Thudium, who early in her career treated cancer patients at radiation centers, became a school nurse for Baton Rouge Parish schools and also worked in a Baton Rouge family practice while raising her family.
At one point while her children were growing up, she returned to school and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Loyola University New Orleans.
Her son and daughter each recalled a time as children when their mother’s caring nature left a strong impression. During one week, she took in two children from the school where she worked as a nurse because they found themselves in need of a temporary place to live.
Mrs. Thadium also became a caregiver to a great aunt who lived in a nursing home in Baton Rouge. For many years, she would make daily visits to see her relative.
“That’s certainly something that had an impact on me, just seeing that dedication,” said her son, John F. “Jay” Thudium III, of Ruxton. “Family was very, very important to her.”
She spent countless hours with her five grandchildren, singing, reading and playing with them.
“She just had a heart for children and for elderly people,” said Jane Rohd, her daughter, who lives in Lutherville-Timonium. “Children were everything to her, especially her grandchildren. … She just was a caregiver her whole life.”
Her daughter described her as a devout Catholic.
“She said the rosary every night,” Ms. Rohd said.
The Morning Sun
Get your morning news in your email inbox. Get all the top news and sports from the baltimoresun.com.
She was an active member of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, where in addition to laundering linens used during Mass, she served as a lector for weekend Masses, participated in Scripture study and accompanied a priest to nursing homes to assist with Mass.
Mrs. Thudium’s son and daughter noted that when their parents relocated to Maryland in 2000, moving to Monkton, they arrived in an area where Mrs. Thudium’s ancestors lived generations ago.
According to genealogy research done by a family member, the Hollidays, who were ancestors of Mrs. Thudium, arrived in the late 1700s in Baltimore, where Holliday Street is named for the family. One descendant, Peola Bond Holiday, then became an early resident of Reisterstown when the area was being settled, according to the family’s research.
Ms. Skozilas, Mrs. Thudium’s friend, said they remained close even though Ms. Skozilas had moved to Pennsylvania. They traveled together with their husbands, attended each others’ family events and treated each other to lunch for birthdays each year.
“She was a great friend, a loyal friend and loving person,” Ms. Skozilas said.
Besides her husband, son and daughter, Mrs. Thudium is survived by her son-in-law Brian Rohd, of Lutherville-Timonium; daughter-in-law Rebecca Gardner, of Ruxton; grandchildren Daniel, Benjamin, and Ethan Rohd, of Lutherville-Timonium, and Piper and Madeline Thudium, of Ruxton; a brother and sister-in-law, Thomas “Tommy” and Bernadine Holliday of Baton Rouge; a sister and brother-in-law, Cathy and Robert “Bobby” Larsen of Covington, Louisiana; and many nieces and nephews.
A funeral Mass for Mrs. Thudium was celebrated Friday at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles St. in Baltimore.