Edna Campbell, Douglass principal

September 21, 1994|By Dewitt Bliss | Dewitt Bliss,Sun Staff Writer

Edna O. Campbell, retired principal of Douglass High School and former national president of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, died Friday of cancer at her Northwest Baltimore home. She was 91.

She retired in 1973 after a 48-year career in the Baltimore public school system, starting as a history and English teacher at Douglass. She had also been an assistant principal at Douglass, William Paca Elementary School and Harvey Johnson Junior High School, and principal of Booker T. Washington Junior High School.

In a 1973 article in The Evening Sun, she said of her work as an educator, "My deepest concern is that so many young people do not work up to their potential and take full advantage of the opportunities they have."

In the article, a student, replying to a question about her, said, "Well, Mrs. Campbell is stern." Another student chimed in, "But, where would we be without her."

The former Edna Over was born in Kansas City, Kan., and raised in Denver. Her family came to Baltimore in the mid-1920s when her father was named pastor of Union Baptist Church.

In 1928, her father became the first pastor of Providence Baptist Church, located at Pennsylvania and Lafayette avenues, and she became a charter member of the congregation, which she was to serve in many capacities.

At her death, she was a member of the board of the Providence Adult Day Care Center and chaired the church's Expansion Fund. She was an alto in the senior choir, a member of the Baptist Training Union and a Sunday school teacher.

She also helped to start and served on Providence's Board of Christian Education and was a member of the David E. Over Service Club, named for her father.

She was a member of the Baltimore YWCA, treasurer of the organization's national board and a member of its World Council.

She was a professional soloist in the choirs of Grace Presbyterian Church and the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, sang with the Euterpians, a local group, and was a member of the Krigwa Little Theater Players.

She was a member of the Epsilon Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, later becoming its basileus, or president. She had been Northeast regional director of the sorority and from 1946 until 1949 was Supreme Basileus, or national president. During her administration, the sorority opened its national office in Chicago and hired an executive secretary.

She was a member of the Board of Regents of Morgan State University and had been president of the Maryland League of Women's Clubs. She had been on the board of the Health and Welfare Council of Maryland and was historian of the W. E. B. Du Bois Circle at the time of her death.

She was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Urban League and the Northeasterners, a women's group. She was a graduate of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, where she joined Alpha Kappa Alpha. She earned a master's degree at New York University and did graduate work at Columbia University, the Johns Hopkins University and Western Maryland College.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Providence Baptist Church, preceded at 10 a.m. by Alpha Kappa Alpha services.

Survivors include her husband of 35 years, Abdella J. Campbell.

Memorial donations may be made to the Edna Over Campbell Scholarship Fund at Providence Baptist Church.

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