Frank Carl Zeichner, 83, popular city teacher

October 17, 1999|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Frank Carl Zeichner, a popular Hampstead Hill Junior High School science teacher who taught at the school near Patterson Park for 18 years, died Wednesday at Franklin Square Hospital. He was 83.

Mr. Zeichner, a former White Marsh resident who lived at Oak Crest Village in Parkville for the past year, was something of a "Mr. Wizard" who made science fun.

"To demonstrate what a vacuum is, he showed students how balls could be sucked into bottles. Another time, he took his students on a field trip to Calvert Cliffs and had them measure the cliffs and then study the geological epochs," said his son, Brian Zeichner of Forest Hill.

Because of his love for children and a patient teaching style, Mr. Zeichner's classroom was a popular destination for students.

"He was a popular science teacher who was gifted with a wonderful sense of humor," said Norma H. Haught, a longtime friend and retired Hampstead Hill math teacher. "His was very much hands-on learning and he expected his kids to behave and learn."

His popularity extended to fellow faculty members. "When you were around Frank, you were always laughing," Ms. Haught said.

Born and reared in Canton, Mr. Zeichner was a graduate of Baltimore City College. He earned his teaching certificate in 1934 from the old Towson State Normal School and his bachelor's degree from the Johns Hopkins University in 1950.

During World War II, he was an Army Air Corps civilian ground instructor and taught flight theory and meteorology to fighter pilots at Americus, Ga. He began his teaching career in Baltimore public schools in 1936 with stints at Hamilton Junior High School and Gwynns Falls and Roland Park elementary schools. He joined the faculty at Hampstead Hill in 1958. Also in the 1950s, he taught students recovering from tuberculosis at the old City Hospitals on Eastern Avenue.

Before his retirement in 1976, he taught night school for adults earning General Educational Development certificates.

An avid reader and violinist, Mr. Zeichner enjoyed spending time at his summer home on the Magothy River. He also performed with the Towson University Community Orchestra.

Private services were held Thursday.

In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife of 56 years, the former Catherine Schneider; a daughter, Lynn Zeichner of Carney; and four grandchildren.

Pub Date: 10/17/99

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