Jasmine L. Gunthorpe, 43, leader in Harlem Park community, academy

April 15, 1999|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Jasmine L. Gunthorpe, a community activist in Harlem Park, one of the city's poorest neighborhoods, died Tuesday of an aneurysm at University of Maryland Medical Center. She was 43 and lived in Rosemont in West Baltimore.

At her death, the former welfare recipient was executive assistant at Harlem Park Revitalization Corp., where she had worked since 1995.

Ms. Gunthorpe was a driving force behind Harlem Park Academy, a community-based school that was created in 1997 by the school system's New Schools Initiative. The academy, at 601 N. Schroeder St., has more than 90 students.

FOR THE RECORD - Jasmine L. Gunthorpe: The time of funeral services for Jasmine L. Gunthorpe, 43, a community activist in Harlem Park, was reported incorrectly in yesterday's editions of The Sun. Services will be held at 9: 30 a.m. tomorrow at St. James Episcopal Church, 1020 W. Lafayette Ave. The Sun regrets the error.

"I was impressed by her vision of what she wanted to do," said Joann Cason, the school system's interim director of New Schools Initiative. "She wanted a community-based school that offered a creative environment where children could learn. She believed deeply in this."

Ms. Gunthorpe was a vice president and board member of Baltimore Algebra Project Inc. The program promotes math literacy in middle schools and helps prepare pupils for high school math.

She also helped to set up soup kitchens and food pantries and was a past president of the Harlem Park empowerment zone.

With her dreadlocks and wide smile, Ms. Gunthorpe was a fixture on the streets and in the rowhouses of Harlem Park.

"She worked untiringly for the well-being of families in Harlem Park," said the Rev. Norman A. Handy Sr.

"Because of her own dire experiences, she reached out to help others and tried to make an impact on the children and adults who lived there. She was always telling people that they could turn their lives around," said Mr. Handy, who represents the 6th District in the City Council.

A woman of seemingly boundless energy whose working days often stretched until 10 p.m., Ms. Gunthorpe was described by the Rev. Thomas Hagin, an organizer with the Center for Poverty Solutions, as a "bull in a China shop. She wouldn't rest until the job was completed. If we had more Jasmines, the world wouldn't be in the shape that it's in."

"She was a selfless character to whom people simply gravitated," said Jelili Ogundele, executive director of Harlem Park Revitalization Corp. "She leaves a legacy of commitment, love and dedication."

Born and raised in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, where she graduated from high school, Ms. Gunthorpe attended Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., in the 1970s, studying anthropology and social sciences and volunteering at the Ecumenical Hunger Project there.

She left Stanford 12 credit hours short of a degree and worked for the hunger agency and then returned to the Virgin Islands, where she was a senior planner and later assistant director of capital and development planning for the government of the Virgin Islands. She also had worked for Catholic Social Services and the Legislature of the Virgin Islands.

While at home, she met her future husband, Lawrence Outlaw, a Baltimorean.

While pregnant with twin boys, she had to stop working because of medical problems. After they were born, she was unemployed for some time, and was forced to turn to welfare. Her experiences in trying to make ends meet as a welfare recipient made her promise herself that when she got back on her feet, she would work to better the lives of poor people.

The family moved to Baltimore in 1991.

She was a member of St. James Episcopal Church, 1020 W. Lafayette Ave., where services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by two sons, Rafiq Gunthorpe and Jahiri Gunthorpe, and a daughter, Rahema Gunthorpe-Outlaw, all of Baltimore; her mother, Flavie M. Gunthorpe of St. Thomas; three brothers, Osei Gunthorpe of New York City, Andrew C. Gunthorpe of Beaverton, Ore., and Sydney A. Gunthorpe Jr. of Dale City, Va.; six sisters, C. Patricia Penn of Baltimore, Carol M. Gunthorpe and Elsa V. Conway, both of St. Thomas, Margaret A. Patterson of Brandywine, Elma B. Gunthorpe of Capital Heights and Roslyn C. Gunthorpe of Pawtucket, R.I.; and many nieces and nephews.

William G. Kouwenhoven, 73, airline consultant

William Gerrit Kouwenhoven, a retired airline management consultant and skilled yachtsman, died Saturday of lung cancer at his Roland Park residence. He was 73.

From 1951 until he retired in 1988, he was a management consultant to numerous air carriers, including Pan American World Airways, American Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines System and British Airways.

He raced sailboats on the Chesapeake Bay and Long Island Sound and in the Newport-to-Bermuda race. He was a member of the Gibson Island Yacht Squadron, the New York Yacht Club and the American Yacht Club.

He was born and raised in Homeland. His father was Dr. William B. Kouwenhoven, who with his team at Johns Hopkins Hospital pioneered cardiopulmonary resuscitation and developed the defibrillator.

At age 18, Mr. Kouwenhoven earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University.

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