John F. 'Jed' Jedlicka, 66, educator

November 16, 1998|By Dan Fesperman | Dan Fesperman,SUN STAFF

John F. "Jed" Jedlicka, a longtime school principal whose passion for geology took him on field trips around the world and earned him the affectionate nickname, "Mr. Rocks," died of a heart attack Thursday at his Timonium home. He was 66.

Mr. Jedlicka was a teacher and administrator with Baltimore County public schools for nearly 40 years until his retirement in PTC 1993, including 14 years as principal of Stemmers Run Middle School and a decade at Pine Grove Middle School.

He continued teaching as an adjunct professor at Loyola College, where he had taught geology courses since 1970.

Mr. Jedlicka was something of a Pied Piper on the subjects of rocks and geologic history, leading field trips in the Baltimore area and beyond, including jaunts to Iceland, Hawaii, Bermuda, the Canary Islands and Galapagos Islands.

Loyola's chemistry department offered his Introduction to Geology course every fall and spring. "It was always a full class," department chairman Timothy McNeese said. "[He] did a great job at making geology understandable to non-science majors."

Mr. Jedlicka told a Sun reporter in 1985 that he sought out rocks "anywhere we can find them -- garbage dumps, road cuts, streams." And he never stopped, said his wife of 40 years, the former Gerry Strzegowski. He made his last find the day before he died -- a cobblestone from street renovations in Fells Point.

The Smithsonian Institution recently displayed one of Mr. Jedlicka's finds, described as a "volcanic bomb" from Iceland, in its Hall of Geology.

A Baltimore native, Mr. Jedlicka was the 1950 valedictorian at Patterson High School. He earned his bachelor's degree in 1954 from Towson University, and master's degrees in science in 1961 and education in 1966 from Loyola College.

He was a member of the Baltimore Mineral Society, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Maryland Association of Science Teachers.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Texas, on Church Lane in Cockeysville.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by three daughters, Melanie Erhardt of Lutherville, Stephanie Hirschfeld of Ruxton and Melissa Strohman of Middle River; a son, Kevin J. Jedlicka of Baltimore; a brother, Charles L. Jedlicka of Baltimore; and four grandchildren.

Pub Date: 11/16/98

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