Maethelda I.M. Medders, 73, school teacher, civic activist

March 26, 1996|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Maethelda I. M. Medders, a retired Baltimore school teacher and civic activist, died Friday of cancer at her Ednor Gardens home. She was 73.

She began her career in city schools in 1955 and retired in 1984. She was a reading and English education specialist and developed a comprehensive language arts curriculum for elementary schools. She served as coordinator of the Keep All Pupils in School Program and originated the Dramatic Reading Festival, both for elementary school students.

Before becoming an educator, she worked for eight years for the Afro American newspaper, where she was a court reporter and wrote "Scratch Pad," a weekly column of news from the civil rights front.

"I always think of her as a free spirit," said Harriet Trader, a retired social worker and friend for 55 years. "She had her own idea and a deep sense of integrity and she was willing to stick up for them."

Mrs. Medders lived for many years in Ashburton in West Baltimore. There she and her husband, Frederick C. Medders, whom she married in 1950, established the LaBurt Improvement Association for residents of the Ashburton and Lafayette neighborhoods.

They continued their involvement in civic affairs when they moved to Ednor Gardens in Northeast Baltimore in 1972.

Mrs. Medders was a founding member of Emmanuel Christian Community Church, 800 N. Carrollton Ave., where she was Sunday school and Bible class teacher and edited the Church Herald, its newspaper. She was vice chair of the constitutional committee, treasurer of the Excelsior Circle and chairwoman of the church liaison committee.

"She had a deep sense of spirituality and was a student of the Bible," Mrs. Trader said. "She was the kind of person who had the ability and desire to transfer her faith to those around her."

Bernice McDaniels, a friend of Mrs. Medders since college, recalled some advice from her friend: "She always said that she had the faith and as long as you keep the faith, everything will turn out all right."

Known as Mae, the former Maethelda I. Morris was a Baltimore native and a 1940 graduate of Frederick Douglass High School. She earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from then-Morgan State College in 1944 and in 1968 was among the first graduates of Morgan's master's program in English.

She was a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, a founding member of the Cups and Saucers and a charter member of the Baltimore chapter of Drifters Inc. and the Gayzelz, in addition to belonging to other social clubs. She had been president of the Pinochle Bugs Social and Civic Club.

Services will be held at 11: 30 a.m. tomorrow at Emmanuel Christian Community Church.

Her husband died in 1993. She is survived by a daughter, Janis Medders Thompson of Baltimore; a stepson, Freddie A. Hawkins of Charlotte, N.C.; two granddaughters; and many cousins.

Pub Date: 3/26/96

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