Former president of the Hopkins Hospital women’s board was accomplished piano player who advocated world peace
Ann Burgunder Greif, who headed the Johns Hopkins Hospital women’s board and was a disarmament activist, died Tuesday of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at her Pikesville home. She was 98.
Born Ann Burgunder in Baltimore, she was the daughter of B. Bernei Burgunder, an executive of the old S. Kann and Sons department store in Washington, D.C., and the former Selma Kann. Raised on Lawina Road in Windsor Hills, she was a 1935 graduate of Friends School. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Goucher College in 1939.
Mrs. Greif, who would go on to work for numerous charitable causes, was featured in The Baltimore Sun in 1924 when she was 6 years old. She and other children raised $4.40 for the Children’s Milk and Ice Fund, a division of the Baltimore Community Chest. Two years later, she and her friends raised an additional $6.60 during the annual campaign. They staged what The Sun called “a little play in their Windsor Hills neighborhood.”
In 1940 she married Leonard L. Greif Jr., a photographer whose subjects included brides, families, debutantes and corporate leaders.
Mrs. Greif joined the women’s board of the Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s. She served as its treasurer before becoming its president. As part of her duties, she volunteered at its Carry On Shop in downtown Baltimore. The retail store sold donated household goods and clothes for the benefit of the hospital.
“My mother was charming, gracious, bright and optimistic,” said a daughter, Carol Sandler of Pikesville. “She made the best of everything. She was practical and was a good problem solver. She knew how to get things done.”
In 1970 Mrs. Greif was part of a committee who engaged Bolton Hill artist Licien “Lun” Harris and author Barbara Schuyler Haas to create a children’s book geared for a child bound for an overnight hospital stay.
Mrs. Greif was an advocate of world peace and belonged to the United World Federalists, a movement formed in the 1940s. She wrote letters to The Sun that advocated disarmament and promoted world harmony. “We need advance preparations for the United Nations to interpret, enact, and enforce world law. Only in this way can we achieve world peace,” she wrote in a 1966 letter to The Sun.
She was also active in Planned Parenthood of Maryland and supported a 1962 action in which the State Board of Welfare began allowing caseworkers to counsel couples to visit family-planning clinics.
“I am aware that the Department of Public Welfare is usually swamped with multiple-problem cases,” she wrote to The Sun that year. “The feeling of security present in a family where all children are wanted should certainly go a long way toward prevention of many of the recurrent psychological and sociological problems generally present in welfare cases.” Ms. Sandler said her mother had Friday night dinner parties at her former home on Old Court Road.
“My parents had a diverse group of friends,” said her daughter. “She frequently mixed people from the Hopkins community with her friends.”
Mrs. Greif was a gifted piano player and frequently accompanied her husband as he sang songs from Broadway musicals. The couple traveled to New York and Washington for musical shows. For many years she was a Thursday night patron of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
In 1998 she moved from her Old Court Road home to Slade Avenue in Pikesville. Her husband of 64 years died in 2004. Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Sol Levinson and Bros., 8900 Reisterstown Road.
In addition to her daughter, survivors include two sons, Stephen Greif of Columbia and Geoffrey L. Greif of Ruxton; another daughter, Rose Burgunder Styron of Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.; a brother, B. Bernei Burgunder Jr. of Washington, D.C.; six grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. For many years Ann Greif was a patron of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.