Jean Connolly Herlihy, 82, librarian

March 20, 2004|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Jean Connolly Herlihy, a retired Towson High School librarian, died of cancer Wednesday at a Danvers, Mass., assisted-living home where she had lived for the past two years. The former Homeland resident was 82.

Born Jean Connolly in Baltimore and raised on Walbrook Avenue, she was a 1939 graduate of Forest Park High School and earned a degree from the old Mount St. Agnes College in Mount Washington.

She worked as an administrative assistant at the Venable, Baetjer & Howard law firm in downtown Baltimore. She took an early morning streetcar to arrive before her boss, attorney Hunter Moss, who would call her at her desk each morning before he ate breakfast.

Family members said she did well at the firm. When she resigned before her wedding, she was presented with a Stieff sterling silver coffee service and a note promising, "You will always have a job at Venable if you want one, Miss Connolly."

She married Army Capt. Walter C. Herlihy after World War II. They had met at a USO dance and courted by mail during his military service in Europe. She later worked intermittently as a paralegal in her husband's downtown law practice after the births of her children. Mr. Herlihy died in 1994.

"She was outgoing and liked to be working on a project," said her sister, Helen "Pat" Euker of Catonsville. "She liked to be the boss."

Mrs. Herlihy returned to school in the 1970s and earned a bachelor's degree in education and two master's degrees, in library science and general studies, from Towson State University.

In 1975 she joined the Towson High School faculty as a librarian and media specialist and remained there for a dozen years. She then taught history for two years at Parkville Junior High School.

"She was a quiet, hard worker who was always nice to the kids and helpful to the faculty," said Brad Lear, a Towson High School science teacher. "She was happy with what she was doing and never had a bad word for anyone."

She was a member of Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church, where she was named Woman of the Year in 1990. In 1985 she was elected a church elder.

She organized and served Tuesday meals for the elderly and homeless at Light Street Presbyterian Church in Federal Hill.

"Jean was quite a stalwart person," said Ann Pollitt, wife of the Light Street church's former pastor and coordinator of the meals. "She put her shoulder to the wheel and would not let it down until she moved to New England. It was a cause she believed in."

A volunteer tour guide at the Walters Art Museum, she was a founding member of the Picket Fence Garden Club and belonged to the Woman's Club of Roland Park. She also participated in several book groups, travel and bridge clubs, and a Bible study circle.

Family members said her favorite place in Baltimore was atop Federal Hill, where she enjoyed picnics and watched boats come and go in the harbor.

In 1998 Mrs. Herlihy relocated to suburban Boston.

A memorial service is in Baltimore is pending.

Survivors, in addition to her sister, include a son, Walter C. Herlihy Jr. of Beverly, Mass.; a daughter, Nancy Jean Parsons of Sammamish, Wash.; and four grandchildren.

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