Alice Elizabeth Matthews, 91, city teacher 27 years

June 16, 1999|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Alice Elizabeth Matthews, a Baltimore public school teacher for 27 years and an active churchwoman, died Friday from complications of Alzheimer's disease at home in Glen Burnie. She was 91.

Her entire teaching career was spent with first- and second-graders at Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School in the 1200 block of Argyle Ave. in West Baltimore.

In retirement, she had a second career -- she was the grandmother of Damon Evans, who starred in the television comedy "The Jeffersons." She traveled around the country and the world to see her grandson -- now an opera tenor -- perform in roles in "Carmen Jones" and "Porgy and Bess." Mr. Evans lives in London.

"Though she was short in stature, you were led to believe she was a giant," said daughter Betty M. Shelton of Glen Burnie. "Her frankness, outspokenness, strength of character, in-charge attitude and generosity left no doubt in your mind."

The former Alice Elizabeth Redd was born on what is now the grounds of Morgan State University in Northeast Baltimore. She graduated from Douglass High School and received her teaching certificate from Coppin State College in 1926. She earned a bachelor of science degree from Morgan.

She married Mayon M. Matthews, a Maryland Drydock ship repairman, in 1926. The couple moved to Glen Burnie in the 1960s. Mr. Matthews died in 1988.

She was a lifelong member of Enon Baptist Church in West Baltimore, first going to the church with her parents at age 2. She was baptized there at age 13.

At Enon, she served on the board of trustees and coordinating council, and was a member of the Bettie Redd Mothers Club, the Volunteer Circle, Jones Watkins Missionary Circle, the Cheerful Givers, the Jessie Watkins Flower Guild, the Ivy Leaf Circle, the A. J. Payne Memorial Fund and the Grandison Seniors.

She organized the church's Red Circle Girls, Board of Christian Education and Canvass Committee, and chaired its renovation fund.

She was active in sororal organizations. She was a past worthy counselor of the Ruth-Star of Golden Link Court No. 28; past worthy matron of the Queen of Sheba Chapter No. 3, Prince Hall Affiliation-Order of the Eastern Star; a past grand matron of the Maryland State Order of the Eastern Star; grand most ancient matron of Rahab Grand Court Heroines of Jericho; the Emmanuel Circle; and the Myra Amaranth Court.

She was also a member of the Urban League; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Woman Power Inc.; Cedar-Morris Hill Improvement Association; the R.O.T.S. Club; the One-One Eight Club; the Redd Family Charity Club; the Advisory Board of the Commission on Aging; the Anne Arundel County Advisory Board of Foster Grandparents; the Business and Professional Women's Club of Baltimore; and the Morgan State University Alumni Association.

Services will be held at noon tomorrow at Enon Baptist Church, 601 N. Schroeder St.

In addition to her daughter and grandson, she is survived by two other daughters, Alice Berteal Matthews of New York and Martha Anne M. Warner of Glen Burnie; a granddaughter; and two great-grandsons.

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