Rubye Louise Walker, 88, taught English at Dunbar

June 13, 1999|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Rubye Louise Walker, a retired Paul Laurence Dunbar High School English teacher who was much respected by her students and peers, died Tuesday of Parkinson's disease at Genesis Catonsville Commons Nursing Home.

She was 88 and lived on Dorchester Road in Ashburton.

For 25 years, Mrs. Walker taught English literature. She was recalled as fair to students and a teacher who instilled a love of language.

"She was a model teacher," said Democratic state Sen. Clarence W. Blount, who was her assistant principal at Dunbar. "It was a joy to have her as a faculty member. Students liked her, and she got along well with their parents. She wasn't loud and bombastic. She was moderate in all ways, and people respected her for that.

"She was a remarkable woman."

The former Rubye Louise Sampson was born into a family of educators in Quitman, Ga.

Her brother, Henry Thomas Sampson, became dean of Jackson State College in Jackson, Miss., and her mother taught in the public schools of Quitman.

She was first in her class when she graduated in 1932 from Spelman College in Atlanta.

She earned a master's degree in education from New York University.

In 1934, she married Frank Edward Walker, a district manager for North Carolina Mutual Insurance Co.

Mr. Walker died in 1993.

She taught Latin and English at schools in Georgia, Nashville, Tenn., and Pittsburgh before moving to Baltimore to join the Dunbar faculty in 1945. She retired in 1972.

"At times, she was my mother, my mentor, my friend and my confidante," said Shirley E. Boone, a former student who became a teacher of French and Spanish. "I can still remember the literature she taught us, the Tennyson, Thomas Gray's `Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.' "

Mrs. Walker was an avid contract bridge player. She also enjoyed bowling with her husband and traveling.

She was a longtime member of Grace Presbyterian Church in Northwest Baltimore, where she founded the Daytimers group 25 years ago. The club of retired people met weekly to eat lunch, bowl, play cards and take trips.

Mrs. Walker was a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Alpha Wives, the Spelman College Century Club, the Baltimore chapter of Jack and Jill of America, the Cornelias, and the New York University Alumni Association.

She was also a member of the National Council of Negro Women, the National Council of Teachers of English, the American Association of Retired Teachers, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Grace Presbyterian Church, 2604 Banister Road.

She is survived by a daughter, Norma Grace Walker Scott; a grandson; and four great-grandchildren.

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