Longtime Prince George’s history teacher dies at age of 72
Patricia Johnson Speier, a longtime teacher at Largo High School and a Morningside election judge, died suddenly Dec. 24, 2015. She was 72.
She was born in Chicago, the daughter of Bert and Frances Johnson, and moved with her family to Florida, Oxon Hill and Edgewater, until in 1972 she settled on Pine Grove Drive in Morningside. She attended Oxon Hill Junior High and graduated from Oxon Hill High School. She continued her education at Anne Arundel Community College, Hood College in Frederick, earned her bachelor’s at Bowie State and her master’s at John’s Hopkins.
She taught history for four years at Suitland Junior High before transferring to Largo High School, retiring after 26 years. Her interest in history, especially the Civil War, led her to volunteer at the Surratt House in Clinton.
She met her future husband, Peter Speier, during their time at Largo High School.
They became engaged, on their first overseas trip, at Spangenberg Castle, Germany, in Peter’s mother’s hometown, and were married in 1976 at the VFW in Morningside, the first wedding ever held there.
Patricia and Peter loved to travel and visited 112 countries.
She is survived by her husband of 40 years, Professor Peter Speier, who teaches math at Prince George’s Community College, and by a cousin, David Brookshire, of Arizona. And by all those students she taught over the years.
Ashby Harmon of Skyline was among Vietnam War veterans honored in ceremonies March 31 at the Senate Office Building in Annapolis on the occasion of AARP Maryland Veterans Legislative Day. He received a Vietnam Veteran Lapel pin and a handsome medallion bearing the words: “Maryland Hero *Service*Valor*Sacrifice.”
Floyd Shields of Skyline had such successful knee surgery recently that he’s going to have the other leg done.
Sue Mason is search- ing the whereabouts of a Suitland High ‘62 graduate, Frieda Joan (Sappington) Pope, who used to live in Morningside, across the street from the Village Barn. She was last known to be in Arizona. If you have information, email me at email@example.com, and I’ll pass on the word.
The Presidential Primary Election is Tuesday, April 26, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If I haven’t gotten around to voting early, I’ll cast my vote at Skyline School (perhaps for the last time, as Skyline is closing).
Morningside Election Day is May 2. Polls will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Suitland High Class of ‘63 has a reunion coming up June 17-18 in Annapolis at the DoubleTree Hotel. For information, call Carolyn Hartsock Fonner, 443-3709677.
Horace & Dickie’s is opening on Allentown Road, across from Andrews. I did a search and learned that it is seafood carryout. There are some great reviews for the fish and the chocolate cake, some not-so-great for the mac and cheese and the greens. However, most commented on the friendly service. Years and years ago that building opened as a Dutch Kitchen, or something similar.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III (D) delivered remarks April 7 at the grand opening and ribbon cutting of the county police department’s new police academy in Upper Marlboro.
Department stores are closing around the country: Walmart says it is closing 154 stores this year; Macy’s is in the process of closing 40; and by June, Kohl’s will shutter 18 stores. I wonder if any of these closures will be in Prince George’s.
SHA closes entrance to Metro Park & Ride lot
On April 4, the State Highway Administration (SHA) temporarily closed the south entrance to the Branch Avenue Metro Park & Ride Lot A as part of a $37 million Branch Avenue interchange construction project. All other entrances to Branch Avenue Metro Park & Ride lots will remain open during construction.
During closure, crews will install new storm-water management, construct a new traffic signal at Old Soper Road and perform road widening for a new access road from southbound Branch Avenue to the Branch Avenue Metro Station. Weather permitting, the new access road should be open to traffic in the fall.
Information about the tragedy in Morningside
Jody Nyers emailed about the 1951 plane crash in Morningside. She did a Google search, which sent her to Wikipedia. The pilot, who bailed out, was found not guilty because he was taking orders, as instructed, from six officers in the tower. The case is Snyder versus United States.
By the way, the tragic accident was on Lombardy Road, near its intersection with Allies. Lombardy later lost its name and became a part of Poplar Road.
May he rest in peace
My son, Brian McHale, died of brain cancer on April 11. Mass of Christian Burial will take place at St. Mary’s Church in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., on April 22. I’ll tell you about my dear Brian in a future column. In the meantime, remember him and all the McHales in your prayers.
Happy birthday to Taylor Foster, April 22; Jim Reilly, David Titus and Barbara Sparks, April 23; Edna Lucas, April 24; Sue Stine McConkey-Mason, Daisy Young, Kenia Spivey and my grandson David McHale, April 25; G.A. DeFelice, April 26; Michael Call, Apr. 27; Rose Tiller, Beverly Gotshall Marquis, DJ Fowler and Jessica Phipps, April 28.
Happy anniversary to John and Ruth Anthony, Jr., on their 38th, April 22; Lewis and Trisha (Pitts) Woods, their 27th on April 22; Janet and Brian Spivey, April 23; Emanuel and Juanita Chaplin, their 53rd on April 26; and Jan and Cindy Smith, their 44th on April 28.