Charlotte Sue Zenz Lister, a retired pharmacist who was a docent at the Baltimore Museum of Art, died of dementia on July 3 at Inspir Carnegie Hill in New York. The former Pikesville resident was 98 years old.
Born in Baltimore and raised above her father’s drug store, she was the daughter of Milton Zenz and Dora Barshack, a homemaker.
She attended Robert E. Lee School #49 and graduated from Forest Park High School, where she met her future husband, Leonard Lister. She attended Goucher College and transferred to the University of Maryland, where she was the only woman in her pharmacy class.
As a pharmacist, she worked alongside her father in his store, originally located on West Pratt Street and later on Park Heights Avenue in Northwest Baltimore.
“Unlike many women of her time, Charlotte trained and pursued a professional career as a pharmacist, following in her father’s footsteps,” said a friend, Anne Tate Gallant.
She married Leonard Lister, a physician and internist, in 1944. They raised their family in Baltimore and later in Brevard, North Carolina, where she worked in a pharmacy, and in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where he worked in industrial medicine.
She returned to Baltimore and enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.
“She was a docent at the Baltimore Museum of Art and had a passion for the Impressionists,” said one son, Dr. Philip Lister.
She was a life force.
A granddaughter, Molly Weissman said, “She was an amazing student and a voracious reader. She was whimsical, often wearing a mix of patterns and colors. She was caring and kind, but she never swallowed criticism. She was appalled by the politics of today’s world and donated to causes she believed in.”
A friend, Pamela Shugi, said: “Charlotte was a very special person. I have memories of drinking soda water and discussing life with her. She advised me not to give up either in work or in finding a partner. We talked for a while and she gave me the secret to quitting: celery.
Her social worker, Ellen Feeney, said: “She was a mystery lover and embraced the Sherlock Holmes nickname as she was always quick to point out any inconsistencies or things she noticed were wrong. She paid attention to the minutiae and mundane details of her days and reported her findings.
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Mrs Finney also said: “She was always quick with a witty banter followed by a hearty laugh. She was a generous soul, always trying to gift us with various items that meant something to her.
“While she was here [living in New York] she taught us so much and after her death she will continue to teach the next generation of future doctors as she chose to donate her body to medical science.
For many years, Mrs. Lister lived in the Colonnade on West University Parkway and belonged to two book clubs.
Her neighbor Debbie Hellman said: “Charlotte was a treasured friend, someone I could talk to about almost anything. I remember during the first weeks of the pandemic … Charlotte and I had a phone conversation from our balconies.
“It was a pleasure to be able to see each other clearly from our respective seats as we talked on our phones,” Ms Hellman said. “Sometimes I would give her a few pieces of rugelach I had made, and she would send me some of her rose-sculpted radishes. She was a wonderful neighbor and a wonderful friend.
Her friend Mrs Gallant said: “She was smart and stylish. Even when she chose to start wearing sturdy, orthopedic shoes, she would accessorize the outfit with a colorful Marimekko dress and artistic, crafted jewelry.”
Survivors include two sons, Dr. Eric Lister of Portland, Maine, and Dr. Philip Lister of New York; a sister, Marlene Brown of Delray Beach, Fla.; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Her husband, Dr. Leonard Lister, died in 1988. A granddaughter, Lisa Lister, died in 1996.