Franklin W. Draper III, 74, teacher, Shore history buff

January 17, 2002|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Franklin Warner Draper III, a retired teacher who had an affection for Eastern Shore history and wildlife, died Tuesday of heart failure at his Centreville home. He was 74.

Each school day for 36 years, he crossed the Chesapeake Bay to teach at Annapolis High, and for much of that time was chairman of the school's social studies department. He then returned to Queen Anne's County, where he belonged to many religious and community groups.

"He knew everybody in the county," said Ann Shortall, who is chairwoman of the Museum of Eastern Shore Life outside Centreville. "We're all volunteers and he was one of our founding board members who loved [Queen Anne's] County -- and especially her people."

"I'd say he was Mr. Centreville," said the Rev. David F. Gearhart, a retired priest and former rector of the town's St. Paul's Episcopal Church. "He was a strong leader of my congregation and a strong leader in the community."

"He looked into our church, which we'd said had been founded in 1640, and found it was really started in 1690," Mr. Gearhart said yesterday. "He took 50 years away from what we'd been bragging about. But he got us straight."

About 25 years ago, Mr. Draper started making and painting woodcarvings of songbirds, hummingbirds and water fowl decoys, which he exhibited and sold at Eastern Shore shows. "He had his own following and sold quite a few of his carvings," said Esther Burns, a St. Michaels resident who was one of his instructors.

In the 1950s, he also co-owned a liquor store, Draper Brothers, but later withdrew from the family-owned business.

Born in Washington, he was raised in Centreville and graduated from Centreville High School in 1944. He entered the University of Maryland, College Park, left to serve in the Navy as a dental assistant, then earned his bachelor's degree in social studies from Washington College in Chestertown and a master's degree from George Washington University.

He was an active member of the Centreville Lions Club, and was a past president of the Queen Anne's County Historical Society and Queen Anne's County Sportsmen's Club.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. Paul's, where he was a lay reader and former vestry member.

He is survived by his wife of 45 years, the former Katharine Mary Maybeck; a son, Franklin Warner Draper IV of Crofton; a brother, Thomas E. Draper of Centreville; four sisters, Ann Draper Tikiob of Rehoboth Beach, Del., Susan Draper Whaley of Queenstown, Julia Draper Corder of Annapolis and Jane Draper Everett of Dover, Del.; and three granddaughters.

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