Maurya F. Tillery, 84, longtime teacher at Patterson Park High

March 14, 1998|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Maurya F. Tillery, an educator who taught English and geography in Baltimore public schools for nearly four decades and was affectionately known as "Mom T" by her students, died March 6 of complications of a stroke at Oakcrest Village. She was 84.

A diminutive woman with dark-framed glasses, carefully coiffed hair and a hearty laugh, Mrs. Tillery was an often-remembered teacher for graduates of the old Patterson Park High School. The school later became Patterson High.

She began teaching at the school, then on South Ellwood Avenue, in 1950. She retired in 1972.

Graduates she taught developed such a liking for her that they often invited her to class reunions and family parties, and helped her celebrate her birthdays.

Last fall, she was present at the Eastwind Caterers on Pulaski Highway when the Class of 1957 gathered for its 40-year reunion, where it was announced that class members had established a scholarship in her honor.

She was a sponsor of the Class of 1957, which had red and white as its colors. In keeping with the class spirit, Mrs. Tillery insisted on being buried wearing a red blazer and white blouse.

The school flag stood near her casket in the Charles L. Stevens Funeral Home on Fort Avenue. Her pallbearers and honorary pallbearers were members of the class, and they assisted at her funeral Wednesday.

"She asked that she be buried wearing that red blazer," said Gay Lyter Holland, a member of the class who teaches English at Patterson and lives in Highlandtown.

"She cared so much for her students. I remember her taking us downtown on the No. 13 bus to the Charles Theater in 1955 to see 'Romeo and Juliet.' She even got the football players to read Shakespeare," Mrs. Holland said with a laugh.

Mrs. Holland described Mrs. Tillery as "easygoing" and as a "pioneer."

"She always encouraged and never discouraged us and would say, 'Go for it,' " she said.

Royce Jones Perlow, also a member of the class, who lives in Pikesville, said, "She was a wonderful teacher, not only of her academic subjects but also one who imparted many of life's lessons in meaningful stories of her own life experiences."

Mrs. Perlow said Mrs. Tillery was a "much-sought-out counselor who guided students to focus on and to develop their individual talents and to be the best that they could be. We didn't call it self-esteem in those days, but that's what it was."

A woman of wide-ranging interests, Mrs. Tillery enjoyed attending the theater and ballet, art museums and Baltimore jazz clubs.

Born and raised in South Baltimore, the former Maurya F. Rogachoff was a graduate of city schools. She had hoped to become a dancer but chose a teaching career instead.

She earned her teaching certificate from the old Towson Normal School in 1934 and bachelor's and master's degrees from the Johns Hopkins University. She was married for many years to Joseph J. Tillery, who died in 1979.

She began her teaching career in the late 1930s at Curtis Bay and Gardenville elementary schools, and at Clifton Park and Hampstead Hill junior high schools.

Mrs. Tillery was also faculty sponsor for several other classes.

In 1957, the school's yearbook described her this way:

"Mrs. Maurya Tillery -- a tolerant attitude, unflagging energy, and boundless ambition for the success of her graduating class along with an understanding heart, make Mrs. Tillery an inimitable and beloved sponsor. Her constant loyalty and her irrepressible sense of humor have turned tense times into pleasant and memorable experiences."

She relaxed by taking long walks and swimming, and enjoyed living independently in her later years before moving to the Parkville retirement community several years ago.

Services were Wednesday.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Maurya Tillery Scholarship Fund, c/o Charlotte Frampton DeLoach, 1701 Greenspring Drive, Lutherville 21093.

Stephen T. B. Terhune, 48, worked in video production

Stephen T. B. Terhune, controller of a video production company, died of lung cancer March 6 at the Hospice of Baltimore in Towson. He was 48.

The longtime Lutherville resident had been controller of Vince Clews & Associates, a Reisterstown video production company, since 1993.

He had been vice president, controller and board member of the Daily Record, a Baltimore newspaper of business and legal news that he joined in 1979.

Born in Panama, Mr. Terhune was raised in Strafford, Pa., and graduated from the Hill School in Pottstown, Pa., in 1967.

He attended the University of Maryland for a year before he enlisted in the Navy. He was discharged in 1972.

After earning a bachelor's degree in finance from Towson State University in 1977, he worked for several Baltimore companies before joining the Daily Record.

He was a member of the Holland Society.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. today at St. John's Episcopal Church, 3738 Butler Road in Glyndon.

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