James W. Wilfong, 75, SSA specialist, educator

October 29, 2004

James W. Wilfong, a retired Social Security Administration specialist who later was a home educator, died of a heart attack Sunday at St. Joseph Medical Center. The Lutherville resident was 75.

Mr. Wilfong was born in Morgantown, W.Va., and raised in Weston, W.Va. He earned a bachelor's degree in education in 1951 from Glenville State College and a master's degree in 1955 from West Virginia University.

Mr. Wilfong served in Germany with an Army infantry unit from 1951 to 1953.

He was an industrial engineer for U.S. Steel Corp. and taught school in Pittsburgh before coming to Baltimore in 1961, when he joined the Social Security Administration as a disability policy specialist. He retired in 1984 and became a part-time home teacher for Baltimore County's public schools.

"All students who were on suspension were allowed so many hours of tutoring each week. In this capacity, he learned all the back roads of Baltimore County," said his wife of 44 years, the former Dorothea Koldys. "It gave him a lot of satisfaction to teach a student who thought he was dumb and show him how arithmetic or English worked - and to hear students say, `That was easy.'" He retired a second time in 1999.

Since suffering a heart attack in 1984, Mr. Wilfong had been a member of a cardiac fitness class at Towson University, where he played wallyball - a wall-bounce version of volleyball - three times a week.

Mr. Wilfong was also an inveterate reader of obituaries, family members said.

He was a parishioner of Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Roman Catholic Church, 20 E. Ridgely Road in Timonium, where a memorial Mass will be offered at noon Nov. 6.

In addition to his wife, survivors include a son, William J. Wilfong of Singapore, and a daughter, Nancy Mcisaac Raskin of Baltimore. Another daughter, Laura Wilfong, died in 1968.

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