Grace L. Sunderland, 99, educator and homemaker

December 14, 2005

Grace L. Sunderland, a former educator and homemaker, died of heart failure Sunday at the Asbury Village retirement community in Gaithersburg. The former longtime Towson resident was 99.

Born and raised Grace Lyons in Calvert County, she graduated in 1926 from the first three-year teacher training program from what was then the old Maryland State Normal School in Towson, now Towson University.

She taught for seven years, the first five in a wooden, one-room school near Owings in Calvert County. She spent the last two years of her career at Fairview School, a consolidated school.

Mrs. Sunderland recalled in an Asbury Village publication that her one-room schoolhouse was heated by a pot-bellied stove. Boys hauled water from a well on a nearby farm. Toilets were outdoors, and there was no electricity. Her starting pay was $1,050 a year.

"The emphasis was on basics," she said. "Order was the rule of the day. Parents believed in strict discipline, so there were no major behavior problems. It was a big, friendly atmosphere."

After her 1933 marriage to Owen Lane Sunderland, she moved to Baltimore. Mr. Sunderland, who was a former accountant for the State of Maryland Income Tax Division, died in 1982.

Mrs. Sunderland lived on Allegany Avenue in West Towson for 27 years before moving to the Gaithersburg retirement community in 1978.

Mr. and Mrs. Sunderland were avid gardeners. He concentrated on vegetables and fruits, she on flowers. She maintained a small garden at Asbury Village until she was 90.

She was a longtime member of the V I-Ex Club, a small women's club that was founded during World War II, and Lovely Lane Methodist Church. In Gaithersburg, she was a member of Covenant United Methodist Church.

Graveside services will be held at 2 p.m. today at Mount Olive United Methodist Church Cemetery, 5111 Old Court Road, Randallstown.

Surviving are a son, Lowell E. Sunderland of Columbia, a retired Sun editor; a sister, Laura L. Stauffer of Baltimore; three grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

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