Principal remembered as warm, caring

April 15, 1994|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Sun Staff Writer

Barbara H. Garnes talked about becoming a teacher from the time she was in junior high school, telling friends and family she could touch the future by making a difference in children's lives.

The former Phelps Luck Elementary School principal died Tuesday of bone cancer after more than two decades as an educator in Howard County and Baltimore. She was 50.

Those who worked with Ms. Garnes remembered her as an energetic person committed to the children who attended her school, someone who worked evenings and weekends on school matters.

"She was a consummate professional," said Talbott Springs Elementary School Principal Thomas Brown, who knew Ms. Garnes for more than 20 years and served as principal when she was an assistant principal at Longfellow Elementary School. "She did not believe there were things that couldn't be accomplished, whether she was in the classroom or in administration."

Even when Ms. Garnes, the former Barbara Jean Hoskins, was too physically ill to work, she would worry about her students and her school, recalled Edward Alexander, director of elementary schools.

The last time Mr. Alexander and Associate Superintendent James McGowan spoke to her, they told her "she was to take her time coming back and to get her health and strength back," Mr. Alexander recalled. "She replied, 'Yeah, but what's going to happen to my kids and my teachers in the meantime?' . . . Even then, she was so much concerned about her professional responsibility."

Ms. Garnes began her teaching career in the Baltimore public school system in the early 1970s. She came to the Howard County school system in 1972 as a teacher at Bryant Woods Elementary School. She transferred to Longfellow Elementary School in 1978, eventually becoming an assistant principal. She left in 1984 to be assistant principal at Dasher Green Elementary.

"She loved her work," said Annette Bull, her sister. "She loved her students."

In 1990, Ms. Garnes was promoted to principal of Phelps Luck. She worked there for a little more than three years, leaving last year because of her illness.

Ms. Garnes was born in Norfolk, Va., and attended Eastern High School in Baltimore. She earned her undergraduate and master's degrees in elementary education at Morgan State University. She is divorced from Charles Garnes of Baltimore, whom she married in 1963.

A Baltimore resident, she loved to read, travel, play tennis and work with children. She belonged to several professional, civic and honorary groups, including Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, the Howard County Association of Elementary School Administrators, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the National Education Association and the Maryland State Teachers Association.

L "She was a warm, loving, caring person," Ms. Bull said. "She

always made a difference in anyone's life she touched."

Ms. Garnes is survived by her mother, Rebecca Brown, of Baltimore; three sisters, Rayonia Colbert of Shreveport, La., and Annette Bull and Helen Warren, both of Baltimore; two daughters, Kimberly Garnes of Warner Robbins, Ga., and Dawn Watts of Baltimore; and two grandsons, Aaron and Joshua Watts, both of Baltimore.

Funeral services for Ms. Garnes will be tomorrow at 11 a.m. at New Psalmist Baptist Church, Cathedral and West Franklin streets in Baltimore.

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