Medora M. Kaltenbach from Southern Shores, September 18
By story submitted on September 20, 2021
Medora M. Kaltenbach, of Southern Shores, a retired Social Security administrator who moved to the Outer Banks over 40 years ago and who loved traveling the world, playing mahjong and representing the lighthouses of the East Coast at the needle, died Saturday, September 18 at her home after a long illness. She was 88 years old.
A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Medora Marie Kaltenbach was born on March 3, 1933 – just three days before President Franklin D. Roosevelt closed the banks, as part of his strategy to pull the United States out of the Great Depression. . Ms Kaltenbach liked to share how her father was unable to pay for his wife and daughter’s hospital stay until the banks reopened. Her father, Edward T. Kaltenbach, was warehouse manager for the American Oil Company; her mother, Sadie Medora Kaltenbach, graduated in 1916 from Western High School in Baltimore, who during World War II worked on the Bendix Corporation assembly line, assembling radio components for the war effort.
Ms. Kaltenbach attended Towson Catholic High School in Baltimore County, Maryland, where she played basketball and softball. After graduating in 1951, she headed west, enrolling at the University of Michigan and majoring in French. She graduated in 1955.
Among her first jobs, she worked as a waitress, to earn money and help pay for school fees while in Michigan. She then worked briefly as a teacher at Catonsville High School, north of Baltimore. Her dream job, Ms. Kaltenbach often said, would have been that of a flight attendant. But when she applied for a job at a major airline, she frowned, she was turned down because her hips were too wide. The trip she often dreamed of would have to wait until later.
Shortly after graduating from university, Ms. Kaltenbach began working for the Social Security Administration. She remained there, eventually promoted to several administrative positions, until her retirement in December 1986 with more than three decades of government service.
Ms. Kaltenbach was a certified public accountant, having passed the CPA exam in 1983. She was an avid fan of the Baltimore Orioles, and later of European football, where she deeply rooted for Barcelona. She was also a dedicated bowler, competing in Baltimore area leagues and tournaments in the 1970s. It was while bowling that she met her longtime friend, confidant and travel companion, Fritz Stern, who moved in with her to the Outer Banks, living in an apartment in Kitty Hawk.
Shortly after retiring from Social Security, Ms. Kaltenbach moved to Southern Shores, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where she had purchased undeveloped land in the mid-1970s. She called the Outer Banks at her home. for the rest of his life. For years she has been an active member of the Outer Banks Woman’s Club and the Duck Woods Country Club. Her needlepoint performances of the East Coast lighthouses had long been a staple at craft shows across the region, and she was rarely too busy to enjoy a catchy game of Mahjong at the club. She also volunteered with the Southern Shores Volunteer Fire Department.
Ms. Kaltenbach has always loved traveling and after her retirement it became her special passion. She has made dozens of trips, visiting every continent except Australia; her favorite trip, she said when urged, was the Himalayan nation of Bhutan.
But, in a relationship that stretched back at least to her college days and French studies, Ms. Kaltenbach has retained a special place in her heart for Paris. In 2006, she bought a condo in the City of Light, and would spend four to six months a year there, working to master the language; savor the opportunity to attend performances at the famous Palais Garnier or the Paris Opera; eat mussels in his favorite bistro; or volunteer at the American Library in Paris.
Mrs. Kaltenbach is survived by two nephews, Thomas H. Kaltenbach, of Fallston, Maryland, and Christopher I. Kaltenbach, of Linthicum, Maryland. Her brother, P. Edward Kaltenbach, retired dean of Loyola University, Maryland, died in 1986..
Plans for a memorial service for Ms. Kaltenbach in Baltimore are pending. The family is asking for commemorative contributions to the American Cancer Society, at cancer.org. Expressions of sympathy and comfort are welcome via the online register at www.gallopfuneralservices.com. Gallop Funeral Services, Inc. was responsible for the arrangements.