Honoring members who have passed away.

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Margaret Isabelle Obert
August 11, 1944 – March 7, 2018

Longtime church member Margaret Isabelle Obert passed away on Wednesday March 7th, she was 73 .

Isabelle was born and raised in Baltimore City and attended Southern High School (class of 1962). She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University College, University of Maryland (where she attended night school for 8 years, while raising a daughter as a single mother); a Master of Science Degree in Strategic Intelligence from the Defense Intelligence College in Washington, DC; and a Contemporary Executive Development Certificate from the George Washington University in Washington, DC.

She retired in 1997 after a long career with the Federal Government. She began her career with the National Security Agency, serving as an Analyst and Cryptologic Staff Officer. In 1982, she transferred to the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington D.C., serving first as a Counterintelligence Research Specialist. She subsequently moved into management positions, serving as the Chief, Security Policy and Operations; and Chief, Security Awareness. She traveled extensively for the Government, providing counterintelligence and security support to military commands worldwide. She received the Defense Intelligence Director’s Award upon retirement.

She was an avid genealogist and published books on the Board and Allen families of Maryland and Virginia. She won the Maryland Historical Society’s 1999 Parker Prize for her work on the Board family. She served as a volunteer in the Library of the Maryland Historical Society for many years.

Isabelle was a member of the Old Otterbein United Methodist Church for many years. She served as Chairperson of the Trustees, overseeing major restoration efforts of the church and parsonage; Treasurer; and Wedding Coordinator of the Church. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Star Spangled Banner Flag House; and as President of the Board of Directors of the Susanna Wesley House, which provides transitional housing for homeless women and children. She was previously active in the Girls’ Softball Division of the South Baltimore Little League, serving as Vice President, Player Agent, and Manager. She was also a member of several lineage societies, to include: Daughters of the American Revolution, United States Daughters of 1812 (where she served as National Registrar), National Society , Colonial Dames of America in Maryland (where she served as the President of the Maryland State Society) and several others. She was a member of the Maryland Historical Society; the Maryland Genealogical Society; the Baltimore County Genealogical Society; and the Virginia Genealogical Society. She served twice as President of the Maryland Genealogical Society.

Isabelle is survived by a daughter, Margaret Obert Berish, granddaughters Kathryn Isabel and Lauren Margaret Berish, and a son-in-law, Thomas Scott Berish; a brother C. Allen Board; a sister Nancy L. Swartwout; a brother-in-law, William Swartwout, a nephew Arthur Swartwout, and a niece, Jill Swartwout. A brother, Warren F. Board, predeceased her.

Accessed 08 March 2018 at:

Thomas Paul Bocek
February 20, 1932 – March 3, 2018

On March 3, 2018 Thomas “Tom” Paul Bocek passed away. He was the beloved husband of June M. Bocek (nee McHugh); devoted father of Dawn Bocek Schepleng and her husband Keith, and Lisa Bocek Vandervest and her husband Craig, and the late Timothy Mark Bocek; cherished grandfather of Victoria “Tori” Vandervest, Maggie Schepleng, Graham Vandervest, and Samuel “Sam” Schepleng; dear brother of Robert “Bob” Bocek and his wife Jean. Relatives and friends are invited to visit at Schimunek Funeral Home Inc., 9705 Belair Rd. Nottingham, MD 21236 on Wednesday from 3-5 and 7-9 PM, where a Funeral Service will be held on Thursday at 11:00 AM. Interment will follow at Gardens of Faith Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers those who wish may make memorial contributions to Zion United Church of Christ, 8701 Cottington Rd. Baltimore, MD 21236, or the Rosedale Senior Center, 1208 Neighbors Ave. Rosedale, MD 21237. Online tributes may be left at www.schimunekfuneralhomes.com.

Accessed 07 March 2018 at:

  • Tom Bocek spent many years assisting genealogists in the Baltimore area especial with discovering one’s Polish roots.
  • He was very active in the Baltimore County Genealogical Society (BCGS) and volunteered at the local Church of Ladder Day Saints Family History Center.
  • Tom was also the chairperson of the Eastern European Interest Group at the BCGS for many years where he readily shared his knowledge of genealogy.
  • Tom also gave a number of talks on Eastern European family history research in the Baltimore area.
  • He wrote the book Baltimore Street Name Changes 1730 – 2000.


From the Baltimore Sun

Joseph Lewis Simon
(August 8, 1927 – February 23, 2017)

Joe Simon, a beloved regular member of the Baltimore County Genealogical Society for many years, has passed away on February 23rd. He was 89 years old.

Joe participated in many projects and events while researching his family ancestry which includes family surnames; Baginski, Lewandowski, Simon, Zaczek Tohaszkiewicz, Golaszewski, and Schwarzkopf. He was introduced to the BCGS’s Eastern European Interest Group just after its founding in 1997 and contributed in its projects. His pride and joy was taking on the herculean task of digitizing the entire available interment records of the Holy Rosary Cemetery from 1889 to 1948 which included over 20,000 entries. The records were photocopied by volunteers with the permission of the Holy Rosary Church pastor and given to Joe for computer entry. The handwritten data on the copies had to be interpreted, formatted and indexed for a spreadsheet presentation. The entries were then verified by the EEIG personnel. Joe’s project lasted eight years and produced a CD for ancestry research by those interested. This afforded researchers a tool for easy access and screening capabilities.

Joseph L. Simon was born and raised in the Govans and Hamilton areas of Baltimore. After Poly High School, Joe served in WWII as a radarman on a Navy rocket ship. He married Marie Hild and raised their family, a daughter and four sons. Joe retired as a US Government broadcast engineer and pursued his interest in civic, religious and community activities. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and taught classes for the American Red Cross and the Lady Maryland Living Classrooms. Other then the BCGS, Joe, an eagle scout, devoted much of his time to the Boys Scouts of America as the Regional Chair for the NCCS. His scouting honors and positions are numerous. These include the Silver Beaver Award, District Award of Merit, Order of the Arrow, Archdiocesan Chair, District Commissioner, Council Member At Large and Ad Altare Dei, St. George*, Archdiocesan and OYM Metals of Honor.

* Joe Simon received the Silver St. George award in April 2012 for his lifelong work in scouting from The National Catholic Committee on Scouting. It is believed that this award is only the second ever given to a resident of the Baltimore Archdiocese at that time. The other was given to Cardinal Keeler.

12 March 2017