Mabel Virginia Jews, 85, teacher on Eastern Shore

May 28, 1998|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Mabel Virginia Jews, a former educator who applied a philosophy of "stick-to-it-ness" to instill in her son the importance of school, died of pneumonia Saturday at the Stella Maris nursing home in Timonium.

Mrs. Jews, 85, lived most of her life in Cambridge on the Eastern Shore and moved to Pikesville three years ago to be with her son, William L. Jews Jr., president of CareFirst Inc. and chief executive officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland Inc.

Over the years, Mrs. Jews was a schoolteacher, Pentagon employee and hospital administrator, and in her later years managed nine properties in Cambridge. But the importance of education was always her highest priority.

"She loved teaching and the students," Mr. Jews said of his mother, who taught junior high and high school English and home economics on the Eastern Shore from 1935 until the mid-1940s. "She was always practical, logical and organized."

Friends said Mrs. Jews methodically prepared each day's lessons and enjoyed being before the students. She was patient and made students feel comfortable about learning.

"At that time, if you weren't a good teacher you wouldn't be retained," said Thelma Wilson of Chestertown, who had known Mrs. Jews since she started teaching in 1935.

A native of Cambridge, the former Mabel Cephas went to high school on the Eastern Shore and graduated from the former Morgan State College in 1934, with a major in English and a minor in home economics.

Mrs. Jews devoted years to preparing her only child for college. "She wanted me to be able to go to any school in the country," said Mr. Jews, who attended the Johns Hopkins University as an undergraduate.

Mrs. Jews was an avid reader who was described by relatives as prim and proper -- and never allowed the use of poor grammar in her home.

She returned to school to earn a master's degree from the former Salisbury State College in the 1960s, and worked as an administrator for an Eastern Shore hospital when her son began college. She retired in the late 1970s.

She married William L. Jews in 1951; he died in 1970. In addition to her son, who lives in Pikesville, she is survived by a granddaughter.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Waugh United Methodist Church in Cambridge.

Pub Date: 5/28/98

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