Ermyn J. Heck, 102, Kent County educator

September 08, 2005

Ermyn J. Heck, a retired Kent County educator who taught English and Latin for nearly three decades, died in her sleep Sunday at Chestertown Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. She was 102.

She was born Ermyn Jewell on her parents' farm in Smithville, Kent County, and was named for a popular novel of the day, family members said.

"The family later moved to Worton where her father was postmaster, then to Chestertown where she graduated from Chestertown High School," said a son, Peter J. Heck of Chestertown. "While still in Worton, she rode to school in Chestertown in a horse-drawn buggy driven by her brother Hyland."

She earned a bachelor's degree in English in 1924 from Washington College, where she met her husband, Preston "Pete" Heck.

Mrs. Heck taught in Millington and later in Palmyra, N.J., until 1939 when she returned to Chestertown and was married. Mr. Heck, a Chestertown attorney, died in 1969.

Mrs. Heck taught English and Latin at Chestertown High School from 1939 to 1965, and Latin at Washington College from 1963 to 1965.

She was a past president and historian of the Washington College Women's League, and a founder and alumni adviser to the Washington College chapter of ZTA Sorority.

"She said the key to her longevity was always `everything in moderation.' She didn't smoke, enjoyed an occasional cocktail, and didn't go out of her way to exercise," her son said.

A world traveler, Mrs. Heck had been a member of the Women's Literary Society of Chestertown and the Chester River Yacht and Country Club, where she enjoyed playing bridge weekly. She also spent hours playing the piano, family members said.

Mrs. Heck was a longtime communicant of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Chestertown and in 1970 became the first female member of its vestry. She also taught Sunday school and sang with the choir.

Services will be held there at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

Also surviving are another son, Samuel L. Heck of Chestertown; two grandsons; and several nieces and nephews.

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