Five Women To Enter Maryland Food Industry Hall Of Fame

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Joanne Stathes joined food brokerage Kluge & Co. in 1957 as an administrator. She helped the company grow, eventually becoming Kluge, Finkelstein & Company, one of the largest food brokerage enterprises in the country.

In 1971, Stathes was named a vice president of the company and in 1986 earned an equity position and became a part owner of the large brokerage firm. She left the food brokerage industry in 1993 when Kluge, Finkelstein was sold to the The Leaman Company. She remained active in the food business, joining Metromedia’s Jimbo’s Jumbos peanut division, before retiring in 1997.

In 1979, Ann Miller founded the Maryland Food Bank, a non-profit organization that distributes surplus food to agencies that feed the needy. After leaving the nursing field in 1969, Miller became concerned about the problem of hunger and joined the Maryland Food Committee, a non-profit hunger advocacy group. The goal of that committee was the “there would be no hungry children in Maryland.” Through the committee’s efforts, the federal school lunch program became available in all schools statewide, and low-income families were informed of their eligibility.

Later, as director of the food bank, she led a campaign for state grants and support from community action agencies for a warehouse that would store donated surplus food for distribution to nonprofit agencies that would pass it along to soup kitchens and other emergency food programs.

Miller served as director of the food bank, the first of its kind on the East Coast, for seven years. She retired in 1986.

The Hall includes a new category this year, “Unsung Heroes.” Being inducted this year as an unsung hero is Sally Dickerson, who worked at Safeway as a cashier for 55 years before retiring in 2010.

Dickerson sought employment at Safeway in 1955 at age 32. She first worked at stores in Wheaton and Rockville before settling in as a mainstay at the store in Kensington from the day it opened in 1964 until it closed in 2006 to make room for a new store. For the last four years of her career she was assigned to the Hillendale store, where she worked full-time, on her feet eight hours a day, until her final shift.