Dora Elder Paidakovich, 85, who directed the St. John
the Baptist 12:00 Folk Group from 1968 until her
retirement in 1986, died March 10 of congestive heart
failure at her home in Silver Spring, Md.
Mrs. Paidakovich played a pioneering role in the
creation and direction of the first contemporary
liturgical lay folk group in the Catholic archdiocese of
Washington, a group whose surging popularity tripled
church attendance in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. The
group was also engaged in numerous volunteer
performances and benefit concerts for nursing homes,
hospitals and drug rehabilitation centers, and
participated regularly in ecumenical events.
Dora Elder was born in Pittsburgh, Pa. and grew up in
Emmitsburg, Md. She was the daughter of the late John
DuBois Elder and Genevieve Spalding Elder, and a direct
descendant of William Elder, one of the original
settlers of Frederick County in 1736. William Elder
originally named the area just south of Emmitsburg
"St. Mary’s Mount," and after his death a
parcel of his original property was donated by his
family in 1808 for the founding of Mount St. Mary’s
College, the nation’s second oldest Catholic college
Dora Elder’s father, John DuBois Elder, was the
owner and publisher of The Emmitsburg Chronicle, a
prominent local weekly newspaper which remained in
publication by the Elder family from 1922 until 1971.
Mrs. Paidakovich, an avid writer and journalist, penned
the Chronicle’s spirited showcase column, "Most
Anything at a Glance" by Abigail, as well as weekly
hard-news stories, from the 1930’s until her final
column in 1971.
Mrs. Paidakovich graduated from St. Joseph’s
College High School in 1935 and attended St. Joseph’s
College in Emmitsburg, Md., from 1935 to 1937. A
talented singer, she was a frequent featured performer
on live big-band programs aired by local commercial
radio station WFMD in Frederick, and other radio
stations in Maryland and Pennsylvania during the 1930’s.
She also toured locally with the popular Elder Brothers
Orchestra. She belonged to several local drama clubs and
appeared in numerous local plays, comedies and musicals.
In the early 1940’s, Mrs. Paidakovich moved to
Washington, DC, and worked at the FBI in 1943. In 1952,
she moved to Silver Spring and resided there until her
death. She was active in the choirs of Holy Redeemer
Church in Kensington, and St. Bernadette’s and St.
John the Baptist in Silver Spring in the 1950’s and
1960’s, until assuming the directorship of the St.
John the Baptist 12:00 Folk Group in 1968.
Mrs. Paidakovich was a devoted wife and mother who
treasured her faith and her family. Her interests
included cooking, bridge, crocheting, dancing and
animals. Her husband of 45 years, Matt J. Paidakovich, died in
Survivors include a son, Matthew Elder Paidakovich of
Herndon, Va.; two daughters, Lynn Ann Godfrey and Lisa
Paidakovich Elder of Silver Spring, Md; two sisters,
Genevieve R. Smith of Timonium, Md. and Yvonne Wiegand
of Williamsport, Md.; and two grandsons, Michael J.
Paidakovich of Reno, Nev. and Paul A. Godfrey of
Rockville, Md. Also surviving are numerous relatives,
including Art Elder of Emmitsburg, Md., Virginia Gay
Hahn of Thurmont, Md., Dale Ann Norton of Frederick, Md.
and David Elder of Fayetteville, Ga.
A Mass of Christian burial was held at St. Joseph’s
Catholic Church, N. Seton Ave., Emmitsburg, Md.,. on
Friday, March 22, followed by interment at the New St.
Joseph’s Cemetery. A Memorial Mass in celebration of
Mrs. Paidakovich’s life was held at St. John the
Baptist Catholic Church at 12319 New Hampshire Ave.,
Silver Spring, Md., on Saturday, March 23 at 1:30 p.m.,
with a reception following. Memorial donations may be
made to: Community Services for Autistic Adults and
Children (CSAAC), 751 Twinbrook Pkwy., Rockville, Md.
20851, Attn: Peter Donaghe.
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