Charles Anderson, 61, Balto. Co. art teacher

July 10, 2002|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Charles William Anderson, former Owings Mills High School art department chairman who built scenes for the movie Tin Men, died Saturday of cancer at his Randallstown home. He was 61.

In his 36 years with the Baltimore County school system, he taught photography and art at Sparrows Point High School and at Owings Mills.

"Charles always taught with a sense of humor. He made his students - and his fellow church members - laugh often," said Bonnie Green, a friend who is a retired assistant principal of Lockerman-Bundy Elementary School in Baltimore. "He found a way to make the material simple and understandable. He was always prepared and available. If someone was absent, he would step right in to help."

Born in Baltimore and raised in Turners Station, where he attended Turner Elementary School, he was a 1958 graduate of Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School. In 1962, he earned a bachelor's degree from Morgan State University, where he joined the National Society of Pershing Rifles. He then joined the Army and was discharged with the rank of sergeant. He later earned a master's degree in fine arts from Towson University.

Mr. Anderson began his career at Sparrows Point in the 1960s. He taught art, photography, art in business, commercial art and computer art. He retired last month from Owings Mills, where he spent 16 years.

"He was always concerned about the kids succeeding to the best of their ability," said Bernie Hynson, current department chairman of music and fine arts. "He had a good demeanor with the children. ... He kept in contact with the parents and the administration, too."

Mr. Anderson, who was skilled as a calligrapher, also penned the school's award certificates presented at assemblies and graduations.

Each year he also helped design and paint the sets for high school musicals, including The Music Man, Grease, Bye Bye Birdie and The Pajama Game.

"He would oversee and mentor the kids who did the construction of sets. He did wonderful work," Mr. Hynson said.

"He was a kind teacher, almost soft-spoken. I never recall him getting angry," said Daisy McTighe, coordinator of art in Baltimore County public schools. "His colleagues will remember him as a caring individual. He was knowledgeable in photography and shared his love of it with his students."

During his summer vacations, he worked for the Park Sign Co., then in Mount Vernon. In the summer of 1986 he designed and built background scenes for Tin Men.

He was a member of Mount Gregory United Methodist Church in Cooksville, where he was a lay leader, chairman of the trustees board, teacher of vacation Bible school, singer with the male chorus and a member of the United Methodist Men.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. today at Haight Funeral Home, 6416 Route 32, Sykesville.

He is survived by his wife of 19 years, the former Barbara "Kitty" Groomes; a son, Todd Christopher Anderson of White Marsh; a stepson, Eldridge Brown Jr. of Owings Mills; his mother, Marie Parker Anderson of Randallstown; three brothers, George Anderson of Randallstown, Percy Anderson of Baltimore and Willie Anderson of Bowie; six sisters, Olive Hosey and Gloria Shorter, both of Baltimore, Marian Jean Callaway and Sandra Ford, both of Edgewood, Deborah Evans of Randallstown and Kathy Anderson of Catonsville; and five grandchildren.

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