Prima L. Bryson, 85, teacher at Morgan State University

May 09, 2002|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Prima Lee Bryson, former director of business education at Morgan State University, died Saturday of pneumonia at Roland Park Place, where she had lived nearly five years. She was 85 and had resided in Towson and Wilson Park.

Until her retirement in 1985, she taught typing, shorthand and secretarial practices for more than 40 years at Morgan, where her husband of 61 years, Winfred O. Bryson, was an economics professor and department chairman.

Mrs. Bryson also helped her husband in his role as founder and president of Advance Bank - formerly Advance Federal Savings & Loan Association, one of the city's first minority-owned savings institutions.

"She trained numerous students who became high school teachers or went on to the business world," said Homer Favor, a retired Morgan economics professor. "She was an even-tempered person who never argued. And she supported students. She was a kindly person, extremely genteel with fine manners. She was a classy lady."

"She was the kind of person who gave her time and talent. She demanded plenty from her students because she wanted to turn out the best," said Mitzi Willis, office manager of St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church, where Mrs. Bryson was a longtime member. "She was inseparable from her husband - they went to church together and I'd see them at the Giant shopping for groceries together."

"She required the very finest of you - nothing less. I remember spelling one word wrong and getting a B instead of an A," said Armada Grant, a former student. "She dressed immaculately and retained traces of being a Southern belle. She was meticulous about what she said and how she said it. Each syllable was to be pronounced. Years later, she remembered your name, too."

Born in Atlanta, the former Prima Lee Woodall moved to Baltimore in 1940. She earned a bachelor of science degree at Morgan and a master's degree in marketing from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

She was an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and was a former member of the Maryland, Eastern and National Business Education Associations.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Francis Xavier Church, Caroline and Oliver streets, where a wake will begin at 10:30 a.m. that day.

In addition to her husband, who is retired from Morgan and his role as bank president, Mrs. Bryson is survived by two nephews, Arthur Lawson of Atlanta and John Medina of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and a niece, Melissa Medina of Hollis, N.Y.

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