Maris F. Krasnegor, 84, of Philadelphia, a gerontologist and textile artist, died Friday, July 31, of an infection at Temple University Hospital.
Ms. Krasnegor was an administrator for senior citizen programs in Philadelphia. Her day job was enriched by her avocation — an interest in art, said Steve Bremner, her friend and caregiver with whom she lived in the Wissahickon section of the city.
“Her real passions in life were creativity, as seen in her textile artwork, and caring, as demonstrated by her running the Roxborough senior center, and in forming and operating Communicare, the volunteer organization to benefit Center City elders,” he said in a statement.
Born in Cleveland, Ms. Krasnegor grew up in Chadds Ford, the daughter of a chemist with the DuPont Co. The family moved often as he helped invent the nonstick coating Teflon.
She graduated from Wilmington Friends School in Delaware. She earned a bachelor’s degree in art history from Wellesley College in 1957 and a combined master’s degree in gerontology and the psychology of education from Temple University in 1983.
Ms. Krasnegor did two years of postgraduate study in textiles at what is now the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and worked in designing and producing textiles from a studio at home. She had many exhibitions of her work, which included felt and wool garments, and hanging textiles.
She was a founding member of the Philadelphia Guild of Handweavers.
From 1975 to 1980, she worked for Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia, creating art programs for the elderly and training art therapists in how to run the sessions.
She spent 1980 and 1981 identifying and signing up local artists to work with the seniors at centers in West Philadelphia. The program was subsidized by a contract with the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, according to her resumè.
From 1982 to 1987, she was a social and recreational activities director for the Interac Senior Center on Ridge Avenue in Roxborough and also supervised planning and operations.
She went out on her own in 1987, designing and running workshops in art therapy for seniors and professionals in the local elder-care industry.
In 1990, Ms. Krasnegor’s focus changed to helping isolated older adults at risk for loneliness and physical decline. She founded and became the director of Communicare, a project that matched volunteers with the frail elderly in Center City. The aim was to provide companionship and do small chores for the seniors in their homes.
She recruited and trained volunteers and stayed in touch with them as they sallied forth to carry out their missions of kindness.
Courteous and gentle, with excellent communication skills, Ms. Krasnegor was uniquely suited for the job because she could get along with anyone, said Bremner, who worked beside her as a Communicare volunteer.
She had an uncanny ability to read people and know exactly which volunteer would be the best match for a senior citizen in need of a sympathetic ear — or a small, personal favor.
“She would tentatively ask things like, ‘Next time you’re visiting Fred/Freda, would you consider helping them to trim their nails? I know it’s not the pleasantest task, but it would mean a lot to them,’” Bremner recalled.
“Somehow you found yourself saying yes because, well, Maris was Maris. Three days later, you’d be feeling good about the whole thing, and quietly wondering how Maris knew you’d say yes before you knew it yourself.”
In 2014, Ms. Krasnegor retired from Communicare, which was absorbed by a wider outreach program, Episcopal Community Services, in Center City.
In retirement, she read widely, especially fiction, and kept in touch with old friends.
Ms. Krasnegor is survived her former husband, Harvey A. Krasnegor, and a nephew.
At her request, no services will be held.