Friday, April 2, 2021

Katharine R. Stierhoff, County Housing Activist and League of Women Voters Leader, 91

In the early 1960s, Stierhoff became an advocate of women’s issues and believed in the power of the vote. She joined the newly created Baltimore County League of Women Voters’ board in 1966. Her son was quoted as saying “Housing was very important to her. She wanted housing affordable for people of less means.”

Her sons said she was instrumental in establishing the first office for the Baltimore County League of Women Voters in Towson and managed that office for many years. She organized volunteers and disseminated information to the membership and broader community. She also worked on annual voters’ guides. Stierhoff also served on the board of what is now called the Community Assistance Network as the league’s representative.

“My mother was not a loud advocate, but she was persistent,” said her son, Lee Stierhoff.

With the League of Women Voters, she became active in promoting affordable housing. “While serving as the League’s Housing Chair in the late ’80s, she worked to establish a livability code for Baltimore County and lobbied representatives to successfully pass affordable housing bond bills in 1992 and 1994,” her son Paul said. Mrs. Stierhoff also helped form the Baltimore County Housing Coalition and served as its vice president. “She was also instrumental in establishing the Fuel Fund of Central Maryland and served as a board member from 1980 to 1995,” her son Paul said.

Mrs. Stierhoff remained interested in fair and affordable housing issues and served on a Baltimore County advisory council working to eliminate discriminatory housing policies. She cited Baltimore County’s reluctance to address housing issues that went back decades. She said county residents held attitudes against housing for the poor for many years.

The family will hold a private ceremony to inter her ashes at the Church of the Good Shepherd, where she had been a member. A memorial service will be held at a later time.