Lillian Dantley, 88, teacher, administrator

April 02, 2003|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Lillian Humphries Dantley, a retired Baltimore teacher and administrator, died of heart failure Thursday at Good Samaritan Hospital. The Northwest Baltimore resident was 88.

Raised in the city, Lillian Humphries graduated in 1932 from Douglass High School and in 1935 from what is now Coppin State College.

"She was the first of her family to graduate from college, and she encouraged the rest of us," said a sister, Elsie Lawson, also a retired teacher. "Six of us became teachers because of her."

While teaching at several elementary schools, most often at Charles Carrollton Elementary, Mrs. Dantley traveled to New York University weekends and summers to earn a master's degree in elementary school administration. At the time, African-Americans were not allowed to attend graduate programs at Maryland's public universities, and the state paid the cost of out-of-state graduate courses.

Mrs. Dantley left the classroom for several administrative positions, including supervisor, principal at several East Baltimore elementary schools and an area director. She retired in 1979 as an administrative assistant to the superintendent.

A longtime member and former secretary of Douglas Memorial Community Church, she served on its altar guild and Board of Christian Education. She helped organize the Mercy Store, which gave clothing and household goods to the needy, and planned several fund-raising activities that allowed city children to attend a two-week session at Camp Farthest Out every summer.

"She led a rich, full life with a deep interest in children and youth," said Mrs. Lawson, a Baltimore resident. "She never had children of her own, but there were a lot of young women, students and teachers who called her `Mom.' She still got cards, letters and calls from many of them."

She and her husband of 61 years, Michael Dantley, a retired Social Security employee, traveled extensively with a small group of lifelong friends.

Services will be held at noon tomorrow at Douglas Memorial, Lafayette and Madison avenues.

In addition to her sister and husband, Mrs. Dantley is survived by a brother, Donald E. Humphries of Washington, D.C., and four other sisters, Thelma West, Evelyn Ransom, Pauline Pope and Margaret Murphy, all of Baltimore.

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