Ozell Delores Cryor, who for years volunteered as a nursing assistant at P.S. #144 in the 1950’s, became a respected healthcare provider devoted to baby wellness at one of the first city-wide childhood health clinics in the Baltimore City Health Department. She died Saturday at the Good Samaritan Nursing Center in Baltimore at the age of 96.
Described by many as “one of the kindest persons they had ever known,” she often served as a mentor to young women and opened her home and her heart to young people who drew strength and clarity from her counsel.
Born Ozell Delores Tillman in Minden, Louisiana, she was the daughter of a farmer and homemaker. Later, her family moved to Houston, Texas in order that she and her brothers might receive a better public education. She matriculated through that system and was graduated from the Phliss Wheatley High School where she excelled in mathematics.
Mrs. Cryor moved to Baltimore, Maryland in her early twenties where she met who would soon to be her husband, the late Rev. Elliott Cryor. They were married for 56 years and produced two children. Both she and her husband were committed to a life of spiritual service. “My sister and I learned so much about service and human decency from our mother and father, said her son, Michael Cryor. She remains a major influence in my life and was equally so for my sister,” the late Cary Beth Cryor, a well published photographer and professor at Coppin State University.”
Over the years, she would return frequently to Louisiana to visit with her mother and relatives. After the death of her husband in 1993, she returned to Louisiana for some years to care for her aging mother. The quiet and peaceful temperament of her rural beginnings soothed her grief and fortified her to some degree as she would later experience the loss of her mother at the age of 103 and that of her daughter soon after.
In addition to her years of volunteer service in health care, she worked with the Girl Scouts, various neighborhood associations and the church. For years, her home was a distribution center for Girl Scout cookies for area troops and was the play center for children of the neighborhood.
After many years of dedicated service, she retired because of health issues, but those challenges did not prevent her from her greatest joy, caring for her grandchildren. She performed those acts of love with the same devotion and tenderness evidenced nearly every day of her life.
Services will be held on Thursday, October 27 at Emmanuel Ministries, located at 4839 Hazelwood Avenue in Rosedale. The family hour will begin at 9:30AM followed by the service at 10AM.
Mrs. Cryor is survived by one son, Michael Cryor and daughter-in-law, Erica Cryor, of Baltimore, two grandchildren, Maisha Cryor Hardrick (Curtis) of Washington, DC and Jazmin Cryor of Baltimore, one great grandchild, Noah Hardrick, a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that contributions be made to the Morgan State University Foundation for the Cryor Endowed Scholarship Fund. Checks should be made payable to MSUF, Inc., specifying the Cryor Fund on the memo line. Mail to Morgan State University Foundation, 1700 E. Cold Spring Lane, Truth Hall, Room 201, Baltimore, Maryland 21251.