Kenneth C. Boblitz, 66, teacher at elementary schools for 34 years

March 05, 2003|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Kenneth C. Boblitz, whose delight in introducing his elementary school pupils to the world of science and music helped define his more than three decades teaching in Baltimore public schools, died of cardiac arrest Sunday at his Hampden home. He was 66.

The Hampden native, who was raised on Morling Avenue, graduated in 1954 from City College. He earned his bachelor's degree in education from what was then Towson State College in 1958.

Mr. Boblitz, who began his career teaching at Holabird Elementary School in O'Donnell Heights in 1958, later transferred to Robert Poole Elementary School in Hampden. After teaching there for a few years, he joined the faculty of Hampden Elementary, where he remained until retiring in 1992.

Called "Mr. B" by faculty and pupils, he combined his loves of science and classical music, with which he enlivened his orderly classroom.

"He was an amazing teacher, and I am in a large part a teacher today because of him. He made subjects come alive," said Michelle R. Pajardo, principal of the Children's Guild Inc., a special-education school in Northeast Baltimore.

She met Mr. Boblitz when she was a sixth-grade pupil at Hampden Elementary School in 1979.

"He lived in the community where he taught, and it just wasn't a job to him. He was the kind of teacher that made you look forward to going to school. And for those of us who didn't have fathers, he was our own father figure. He made his family our family," she said.

Many of the lessons that Mr. Boblitz instilled in his pupils years ago left lasting impressions.

"It was mandatory that we went to the opera, which he combined with the study of language arts and social studies. And I do this with my students," Mrs. Pajardo said.

Erma Papadimitriou, a longtime friend and educator who began her teaching career with Mr. Boblitz at Holabird Elementary, described him as a "sensitive person whose quiet voice had a calming effect on his students."

Even as a rookie teacher, Mr. Boblitz was popular with pupils and faculty.

"It was his demeanor. The kids were always attracted to him. And he kept in touch with them long after they had moved on," said Mrs. Papadimitriou, who teaches English at Friends School. "He followed them into the future."

She also praised Mr. Boblitz for keeping his lessons fresh.

"He was always innovative," she said. "He was always introducing new techniques and ideas into his teaching."

In 1958, Mr. Boblitz married his high school sweetheart, the former Catherine White. Since 1964, the couple resided on Beech Avenue.

"He loved meeting his former students," said Mrs. Boblitz. "There are now several generations of them, and he'd see them on 36th Street or at the Hampden Fair. He'd stop and talk with them and catch up on the news. At Halloween, they'd bring their children to our home dressed up in their costumes so they could meet him."

In addition to his elementary school teaching, Mr. Boblitz was one of 60 part-time driver education instructors who taught in city schools.

In a 1975 Evening Sun interview, Mr. Boblitz, who taught at Western and Northwestern high schools, boasted about the safety of what some would consider a rather perilous job of teaching teen-agers to drive.

"Actually, I feel quite safe," he said. "I'm watching. The student driver is watching. The students in the back are watching. I've heard it said that no one in the whole history of driver education nationally has ever been killed."

In addition to collecting classical music recordings and attending the opera and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Boblitz, a tenor, performed for many years with the Baltimore Choral Arts Society.

He was also an accomplished gourmet who enjoyed preparing Italian and Greek dishes for family and friends.

He was a member of the Wyman Park Community Association and volunteered at the National Aquarium and the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association.

Mr. Boblitz was a former member of the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation.

Graveside services will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Parkwood Cemetery, 3310 Taylor Ave.

In addition to his wife, survivors include a son, Christopher B. Boblitz, and a daughter, Carrie M. Martin, both of Wyman Park; two brothers, Harry H. Boublitz of Baltimore and Robert H. Boublitz of Riderwood; and two sisters, Barbara A. Pearce of Parkville and Carol H. Easton of Parkton.

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