Betty A. Car­pen­ter

Ridgely Mid­dle School al­ge­bra in­struc­tor was hon­ored as Bal­ti­more County’s teacher of the year in 1988

Baltimore Sun - - OBITUARIES - By Jac­ques Kelly jac­ques.kelly@balt­sun.com

Betty Ann Car­pen­ter, an ed­u­ca­tor who was named Bal­ti­more County’s 1988 teacher of the year, died of sep­sis Sept. 25 at Haven Hos­pice in Or­ange Park, Fla. The for­mer Ti­mo­nium res­i­dent was 94. Born in Ca­tonsville and raised on Bish­ops Lane, she was the daugh­ter of Joseph Leo Gessler, a city plumb­ing in­spec­tor, and Mar­garet Reuwer, a home­maker.

She at­tended St. Mark’s School and was a 1940 grad­u­ate of the In­sti­tute of Notre Dame.

She at­tended the old Mount St. Agnes Ju­nior Col­lege in Mount Wash­ing­ton and earned a de­gree in chem­istry at what is now Notre Dame Univer­sity of Mary­land. She also earned two master’s-equiv­a­lent grad­u­ate stud­ies de­grees.

She met her fu­ture hus­band, C. Barry Car­pen­ter, at a church so­cial func­tion. They at­tended plays and mu­si­cals at Ford’s Theatre and en­joyed pic­nics to­gether. They mar­ried in 1950.

“She was the kind of per­son who was sen­si­ble and looked at things from a pos­i­tive point of view,” said her brother, Joseph Leo Gessler Jr. of Sparks. “She never spoke a cross word.”

She joined Bal­ti­more City’s public schools and was as­signed to teach math­e­mat­ics in 1944 at the old Gwynns Falls Ju­nior High on Hil­ton Street.

In 1951, she left to raise a fam­ily, then re­turned to teach­ing in 1965. She taught al­ge­bra at Ridgely Mid­dle School un­til her 1990 re­tire­ment.

“She loved teach­ing,” said a daugh­ter, Jane C. Bachtell of Flem­ing Is­land, Fla. “Even if there was a stu­dent who ev­ery­one else gave up on, she would say, ‘Oh, no. Give them to me.’ ”

Her daugh­ter de­scribed Mrs. Car­pen­ter as a fair teacher who spent ex­tra time with stu­dents hav­ing dif­fi­culty with math­e­mat­ics

“She made sure they mas­tered al­ge­bra and loved it too — loved it as much as you can love al­ge­bra,” she said.

Mrs. Car­pen­ter was fea­tured in The Bal­ti­more Sun in 1988 for her role in stag­ing a Christ­mas party for East Bal­ti­more chil­dren in need from St. Michael’s par­ish on East Lom­bard Street. The ar­ti­cle noted that for 20 years as a class ad­viser, she en­gaged her sev­enth- and eighth-grade sub­ur­ban Ridgely School stu­dents in host­ing the event at their school.

“Be­fore I be­came ad­viser, the per­son be­fore me had the kids bring gloves and mit­tens in for needy young­sters,” she said in The Sun. “I wanted to have much more per­sonal in­volve­ment. Our kids are mostly well off, and just giv­ing gloves and mit­tens wasn’t per­sonal enough.”

She said af­ter Thanks­giv­ing, the Ridgely stu­dents signed up for the event. Some con­trib­uted money; oth­ers stayed af­ter school to get the room ready. “It’s re­ally a whole school ef­fort,” Mrs. Car­pen­ter said in the ar­ti­cle.

The Teach­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Bal­ti­more County awarded her its out­stand­ing teacher award in 1975. In 1988 she was named teacher of the year by Bal­ti­more County public schools.

“She was a gen­er­ous per­son in the sense she looked af­ter her friends and any­one who needed help,” said Jean-Barry Molz, a cousin by marriage who lives in Tow­son.

Mrs. Car­pen­ter en­joyed trips to Ocean City and was a vet­eran trav­eler.

She taught re­li­gious ed­u­ca­tion at St. Joseph’s Church and served on the par­ish ed­u­ca­tion com­mit­tee. She was a past pres­i­dent of the Alum­nae As­so­ci­a­tion of the Col­lege of Notre Dame of Mary­land Univer­sity.

She was also a past pres­i­dent of the Mary­land chap­ter of Delta Ep­silon Sigma, the na­tional Ro­man Catholic honor so­ci­ety.

She en­joyed flow­ers and ar­rang­ing them. She was a past pres­i­dent of the Ram­ble­wood Gar­den Club and the founder of the Ram­ble­wood Ju­nior Gar­den Club.

Her hus­band of 38 years, an ac­coun­tant, died in 1988.

Mrs. Car­pen­ter lived in Ti­mo­nium un­til 2012, when she moved to Florida.

A fu­neral Mass will be of­fered at 10 a.m. to­day at St. Joseph Church, 101 Church Lane, in Ti­mo­nium.

In ad­di­tion to her daugh­ter and brother, sur­vivors in­clude a son, B. Michael Car­pen­ter of Al­bu­querque, N.M.; two other daugh­ters, He­len M. Car­pen­ter Schnei­der of Punta Gorda, Fla., and Su­san C. Hei­der­man of Sara­sota, Fla.; two sis­ters, Carolyn Kor­nick of Phoenix in Bal­ti­more County and Jean Wester­field of Bal­ti­more; three grand­chil­dren; and three great-grand­chil­dren. Betty Car­pen­ter loved teach­ing and spent ex­tra time with stu­dents hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ties, a daugh­ter said.

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