Lawrence Sherwood Faith, a retired Baltimore County teacher, died Sunday after a long illness with heart disease and cancer.
Mr. Faith, a resident of Catonsville, was 73.
Mr. Faith was born March 14, 1917, at his family's home in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., one of 16 children of Harry Erastus Faith and his wife, the former Bertha Elizabeth Barnhart. He was fond of telling stories from an austere childhood, one of the most memorable being a scheme to make money by trapping muskrats. He described his great hope of making a fortune as he sent the first dried hide to a furrier and his great disappointment when he got the pelt back with a note saying, "One mouse hide -- worthless."
He studied agriculture at the University of Maryland College Park, graduating in 1939. He received his advanced professional teaching certificate from Columbia University in 1963.
Mr. Faith began his teaching career on the Eastern Shore in 1939. He also taught at Taneytown before being drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II.
During the war, he served as a private, stationed at Fort Lee, Va.
After the war, Mr. Faith tried his hand at farming near Davidsville, Pa. He also taught vocational agriculture at Conemaugh Township High School. A few years later, he returned to Maryland, settling in Grantsville and going into the hardware business with his brother-in-law. He also began a commercial egg-production enterprise, worked as a cattle breeder and taught night school for veterans.
In 1955, he returned to teaching full time as a vocational agriculture instructor at Northern High School in Accident. He was active with the Future Farmers of America and was particularly proud of his soil-judging teams, which always did well in state competitions.
He transferred to Baltimore County in 1963, first teaching general science at Catonsville Junior High School and later horticulture at Lansdowne High School. Although he was a senior teacher, he always took the general and vocational classes, feeling a special compassion for children who were difficult to motivate.
He retired in 1975.
Mr. Faith was an avid gardener. His tomato plants were the envy of the neighborhood. He was also an optimist. Near the end of his life, when he was very weak, he described a plan to replace the wild black locust trees in his yard with cherry trees, so that he could enjoy the blossoms when the trees got bigger. He also enjoyed cooking and winemaking.
Mr. Faith is survived by his wife of 52 years, the former Florence Vivian Davis; one son, Andrew D. Faith, chief of The Sun's copy desk, of Catonsville; one daughter, Alice L. Trauger of Fairfax, Va.; two brothers, Ralph B. Faith of Santa Monica, Calif., and Stanley Faith of Big Pool; two sisters, Edna Thompson of Cumberland and Rita Unger of Hancock; and three grandsons. Two other sons, Dr. William C. Faith and Dr. Gregory O. Faith, died in 1988.
Mr. Faith's graveside burial service will be private.
The family suggested memorial donations to the University of Maryland Foundation, Faith scholarship fund, in care of Dr. Theodore W. Milek, vice president for institutional advancement, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Catonsville 21228.