Jacqueline Z. Maskell, 72, volunteer, Calvert School librarian for decade

October 01, 2003|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Jacqueline Z. Maskell, a retired Calvert School librarian and city school library volunteer, died of cancer Sunday at Brightwood Center assisted-living facility in Lutherville. The former Timonium resident was 72.

Born Jacqueline Zeis in East St. Louis, Mo., and raised in Moultrie, Ga., she earned her bachelor's degree in English in 1952 from Goucher College.

That year she married Thomas P. Maskell Jr., whom she had meet in 1948 when he was a lifeguard at the Stoneleigh community pool.

Because of his work as branch sales manager for International Business Machines Corp., the couple moved frequently and for a number of years lived in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. While living in Wilbraham, Mass., she worked as the librarian at the local high school.

After her husband's death in 1985, Mrs. Maskell moved to Timonium and in 1987 was hired as an assistant librarian at Calvert School.

"I knew Jackie from our days together at Goucher and got her to come to Calvert. She was my savior because she was so meticulous and loyal," said Jeaneen B. Wingate, who was the school's librarian for 26 years before retiring in 1997. "She was detail-oriented and kept up with everything. She was current with computer technology and other advancements. She always made sure our library was up to modern standards."

Mrs. Maskell was always accessible and sensitive to the needs of students and faculty.

"She was a very friendly person but slightly reserved until you got to know her," Mrs. Wingate said. "Teachers or students could ask her anything, and she'd stop what she was doing in order to help them. She was very flexible and had a great work ethic."

"She was a very, very lovely lady. She loved children and knew a lot about children's books. She could connect kids with books better than anyone I've ever known. She was able to light their fire," said Merrill S. Hall, Calvert headmaster.

After leaving Calvert in 1997, Mrs. Maskell worked for a year as a librarian at St. Paul's School before retiring.

But that did not mean she stopped working. She was recruited again by her former Calvert School boss to join her as a volunteer in the library at Baltimore's Barclay Elementary School.

"As she had at Calvert, she made lots of friends at Barclay. We did a lot of background work and some of the ordering. She was always taking work home," Mrs. Wingate said.

The college-era friendship, which began in their freshman year, also included Jean Louise Ballard and ripened into a lifelong relationship. The three families spend Easters and summers together in Ocean City.

"I can recall when I first met Jackie ... in the old Hutzler's Tea Room. We became friends instantly and even pledged the same sorority. Then we became close as couples," Mrs. Ballard said.

"First it was six people and then it became 19 with the children. And we've grown to 58 with the grandchildren," Mrs. Wingate said.

Mrs. Maskell enjoyed entertaining and collecting cookbooks, which filled a bookshelf from floor to ceiling in her home. "She loved cooking. ... She'd let a year or more go by before repeating a dish when she was entertaining," Mrs. Wingate said.

A memorial gathering will be held from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. today at Lemmon Funeral Home, 10 W. Padonia Road in Timonium.

Mrs. Maskell is survived by a son, Thomas P. Maskell III of Millersville; three daughters, Sara Brower Moran of Annapolis, Kimberly A. Maskell of Richmond, Va., and Lynn M. Colvin of Chadds Ford, Pa.; her mother, Dorothy Zeis, and a brother and sister, Robert Zeis and Karen Smith, all of Des Moines, Iowa; and five grandchildren.

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