Edna Howard Devereux, 97, teacher, counselor and longtime volunteer

February 06, 2005|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Edna Howard "Eddie" Devereux, a retired teacher whose volunteer work spanned five decades, died in her sleep Wednesday at the Broadmead Retirement Community, where she had lived since 1990. The former Ruxton resident was 97.

Born Edna Burnside in Marshall, Ill., she moved to Washington, where her father was a physician in the Army.

She put herself through the University of Maryland, College Park, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1929. She then became a buyer for the old Frank R. Jelleff Co., a department store in the District of Columbia.

In 1931 she married Joseph Harold Howard, an attorney who became a colonel in the Maryland National Guard and served in World War II as a judge advocate general in England, France and Germany. She and her husband lived in Towson for many years.

While her four children were growing up, she became a substitute teacher in the Baltimore County school system. She also taught at Villa Julie College and was a guidance counselor and social director for the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in the 1950s.

She instituted courses on making clothes and tailoring in Baltimore County's adult-education program. Family members said she appreciated fine dress-making materials and fabrics and made many of her own clothes as well as outfits for her three daughters.

"She was a stylish lady," said Anne Martin, her secretary, who lives in Westminster. "You never saw her dress down. She never wore slacks. Her hair was beautiful. She reminded me of Helen Hayes, the actress."

Mrs. Devereux was honored as the Teacher of the Year for 1975-1976 by the Maryland Association for Publicly Supported Continuing Education.

She helped her students stage an annual fashion show highlighting clothing tailored under her guidance.

Mrs. Devereux was a member of the Women's Civic League and for many years helped stage the annual Flower Mart on Mount Vernon Square. In 1977 she was chairwoman of the Towsontowne Spring Festival, which attracted a crowd at Courthouse Square. She also had been active in the Mercy Hospital Auxiliary, the Cylburn Arboretum and the Catholic Evidence League.

"She was a natural leader," her secretary said. "She was always well organized and was competent in anything she undertook."

After the death of Colonel Howard in 1975, she married Gen. James Patrick Sinnott Devereux, a Marine known as the "hero of Wake Island" and a four-term Republican congressman from Baltimore County. They lived at his home in Glyndon and later in Ruxton and attended military reunions. He died in 1988.

After his death, Mrs. Devereux moved to Broadmead, where she staged fashion shows and knitted garments given to the Christ Child Society.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Roman Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier Church, 13717 Cuba Road, Hunt Valley.

Survivors include a son, John Burnside Howard of Woodbrook in Baltimore County; two daughters, Ann Howard Davis of La Plata and Edith Howard Hogan of Washington; a sister, Elizabeth Burnside Douglas of Cockeysville; a half-sister, Laura Burnside Wright of Destin, Fla.; nine grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. An infant son, Joseph Harold Howard Jr., died in 1933. A daughter, Katherine Howard Mulay, died in 2002.

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