Mary Buddin Adams, 85, state delegate, city councilwoman and Coppin official

October 24, 2001|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Mary Buddin Adams, former state delegate, city councilwoman and Coppin State College official, died Monday of Alzheimer's disease at Augsburg Lutheran Home in Lochearn. She was 85.

Mrs. Adams lived for many years in the 2400 block of W. Lafayette Ave. until moving to an assisted-living facility in Ashburton in 1995.

She taught art in Baltimore public schools during the 1950s and early 1960s, and was public information director for the Department of Public Works in the mid-1960s.

A neighborhood and political activist, Mrs. Adams was president of the Greenlawn Neighborhood Improvement Association for 15 years.

She had consulted on writing the city Job Corps proposal, was active in voter registration drives and served as chairwoman of Women Power Inc. from 1958 to 1968.

Mrs. Adams was a member of women's and civic organizations including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, League of Women Voters, Baltimore Urban League and Northwest Baltimore Neighborhood Council.

She had helped develop programs for the Community Action Agency and, under Gov. J. Millard Tawes, served as a member of the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women.

A behind-the-scenes political player, Mrs. Adams was elected in 1971 to a 4th District seat on the City Council.

"She was slight of stature, but big of heart," state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, former mayor and governor, said yesterday.

"She had a great interest in communities and was very thorough in all that she did. She was very deliberate and didn't vote just for the sake of voting. She thoroughly investigated everything before she cast her vote," he said.

"Mary was quiet but effective in getting what she wanted and didn't champion causes for personal publicity," said former state Sen. Larry Young.

Mrs. Adams represented the district until 1979, when she lost the Democratic primary race to Kweisi Mfume by three votes.

In 1982, she was elected to the House of Delegates from the 40th District, and served as a member of the judiciary and education subcommittees until being defeated in 1986.

Born Mary Buddin in Sumter County, S.C., she moved to West Baltimore as a child and graduated from Douglass High School in 1937. She earned her bachelor's degree in education from Morgan State University and a master's degree in school administration from New York University.

In 1969, Mrs. Adams joined the staff of Coppin, where she served as director of special projects for its Office of Development and headed student special services. She retired in 1976.

"She was great to work with. She didn't have any children and treated all of us as if we were her own children. She loved us all," said college President Calvin W. Burnett.

Caroline Chapman Harris, a retired reading resource specialist for city public schools, recalled working with her at Coppin. "Her philosophy was that we should always be willing to help each other. In the student special services program, which was a tutorial program, students skilled in one area would help tutor college students who needed help," Ms. Harris said.

She had been a member of the boards of the old Lutheran Hospital and Constant Care.

Mrs. Adams was a lifetime member of First Baptist Church, 525 N. Caroline St., where she had served as church clerk and president of the youth choir, and where services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Her marriage to Donald Adams ended in divorce. She is survived by several cousins.

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