Spath, principal taught the disabled

E. M.

April 16, 1994|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Sun Staff Writer

Edward M. Spath, a retired Baltimore school principal and a volunteer teacher of disabled students, died March 9 of heart failure at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The Overlea resident was 67.

Since 1984, he was a tutor in math and science at the Maryland Rehabilitation Center at Lake Montebello and used computers as a teaching aid for the severely disabled, enabling them to learn automobile mechanics, drafting, cosmetology and other skills.

Dr. Bud Rizer, the center's director of the technology resource office, said: "He was a gentleman's gentleman. He believed that computers could be used to teach the handicapped, and he coupled that with his strong academic background and one-on-one teaching ability. He was an extremely patient and caring person."

In 1982, Mr. Spath retired as principal of Calvin Rodwell Elementary School after a 31-year career in the Baltimore public school system.

Baltimore State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms, whom Mr. Spath taught in the sixth grade, said, "He was an impressive leader and teacher and had a real sense of caring for his students."

Born and reared on 41st Street in Hampden, Mr. Spath attended city schools and after graduating in 1944 from Baltimore City College, he enlisted in the Navy during World War II. He was a chief pharmacist's mate at Norfolk (Va.) Naval Hospital and was discharged in 1946.

He attended Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pa., for a year, then earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1950.

He received a master's in education from the University of Maryland in 1957.

He was a member for many years of Grace Baptist Church, where he was a deacon, summer minister and Sunday school superintendent.

A memorial service was to be held at 2 p.m. today at Faith and St. Marks' United Church of Christ, 4839 Hazelwood Ave., Baltimore.

He is survived by his wife of 45 years, the former Jane Rhoads of Baltimore; three sons, Ronald E. Spath of Severna Park, and James E. and David A. Spath, both of Baltimore; a daughter, Barbara S. Khem of Beltsville; and five grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to Friends of the Maryland Rehabilitation Center, 2301 Argonne Drive, Baltimore 21218.

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