Dorothy O. Harkins, 91, teacher, antiques dealer

April 17, 2005|By Josh Mitchell | Josh Mitchell,SUN STAFF

Dorothy Overmiller Harkins, who taught in Harford County public schools for 19 years between 1954 and 1976 and later owned an antique store, died of congestive heart failure April 10 at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center. The Churchville resident was 91.

Born in Athol, Kan., and raised in Tulsa, Okla., she met Charles Edward Harkins while attending Oklahoma State University. The couple married in 1935 and moved to Maryland, where Mr. Harkins taught science at Annapolis High School.

The couple later moved to a house on Gordon Street next to Bel Air High School, where Mr. Harkins served as principal for most of the 1940s.

Mrs. Harkins frequently served as a substitute teacher at the school. "He'd call her; she'd take off her apron and change her shoes and go over and teach," said their daughter Charlsie Harkins Brooks of Churchville.

When a Bel Air High teacher announced her resignation, Mrs. Harkins agreed to teach for the remainder of the school year. It was the start of a teaching career that took her to Churchville Elementary and later to Havre de Grace and Meadowvale elementary schools.

After retiring from the school system in 1976, Mrs. Harkins realized her dream of owning an antiques business. She named her store Aquilla's Antiques, after a name on the deed of the 18th-century Churchville farmhouse that Mrs. Harkins and her husband bought in 1950. Mr. Harkins died in 1954.

Mrs. Harkins specialized in restoring and selling wicker furniture. The store changed locations frequently but is best remembered at Routes 136 and 22 in Churchville. Mrs. Harkins closed the store in 2000.

Mrs. Harkins, who earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Maryland, was active at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Bel Air. She gardened and sewed -- a hobby she picked up at age 10. She recently made more than 200 knit caps for family, friends and charities.

The Harford County Council named her a Harford Living Treasure in September 2001.

Services were held Friday in Bel Air.

In addition to her daughter, she is survived by another daughter, Dottie E. Vinopal of Jarrettsville; two sisters, Marilee Bogert of Tulsa, Okla., and Wanda Lee Kalsu of Kansas City, Mo.; two grandchildren; a great-granddaughter; and a companion, R. Dock Lee of Churchville.

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