David J. Carey, 70, history teacher at Pikesville High


David J. Carey, a retired teacher whose enthusiasm illuminating historical events and the personalities behind them earned him accolades and admiration from students and faculty during his years at Pikesville High School, died of lung cancer Tuesday at Sinai Hospital. The Reisterstown resident was 70.

Mr. Carey was born and raised in Marion, Iowa, and after graduating from high school in 1953, he earned a bachelor's degree with honors in journalism from the University of Iowa in Iowa City in 1957. He remained at the university, where he earned a master's degree in social studies and teaching certification in 1961.

He taught social studies in Plymouth, Wis., from 1959 to 1963, when he married the former Luaine Zimmerman. The couple moved to Madison, Wis., where they attended the University of Wisconsin, and he worked as a teaching assistant.

In 1971, they moved to Rodgers Forge, when Mr. Carey joined the faculty of Dulaney High School where he taught world history, U.S. history and Advanced Placement classes.

A year later, he joined the faculty of Woodlawn High School and taught there until 1980, when he began teaching at Randallstown High School. From 1992 until his retirement in 1997, he taught at Pikesville High School.

"I taught in public schools for 44 years, and I've never known anyone like Dave. When you met or saw him in class, you couldn't help but think what a dignified human being he was and how he related to people and students," said Paul M. Bolenbaugh, retired chairman of the social studies department at Pikesville High. "He had a mastery of the material and knew how to get it across to students. I just thought the world of him."

Jean M. Fowler, a colleague and friend who taught English and journalism at Pikesville for 32 years, described him as the "consummate educator."

"Dave was a character who had character. He was an honest man who was devoted to his students and family and loved history. We shared many of the same students, he taught them American history and I taught them American literature. We used to call him the Walter Cronkite of the Classroom: If he said something, it had to be true," she said.

Mr. Carey was an avid and accomplished table tennis player and on back-to-school nights would write his phone number on the blackboard for the convenience of parents.

"He'd say, `You can call me anytime except Tuesday night, that's when I play table tennis. So don't even think of calling me then,'" Ms. Fowler said.

In a yearly ritual, Mr. Carey prepared and coached students taking the AP history examination and would invite them to his home for a final review and a meal.

"He was one of the most influential teachers I ever had. He had a passion for history and his students, and I soaked all of that up. He taught in his classes that history was not just some musty subject or just a chronicle, that it was a creative product and open to many interpretations," said Peter A. Shulman, who graduated from Pikesville in 1997, and is studying for a doctorate in environmental history and the history of science and technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"Mr. Carey projected his expectations on you, and you just couldn't memorize the material. You had to read and understand it in order to pass his tests, which normally consisted of two essay questions," said Dr. Adam J. Weinstein, a 1993 Pikesville graduate who is now a Baltimore physician.

"Nothing angered him more [than] if he found out a student wasn't reading the material and was lazy. He couldn't stand laziness. To do well in his class, you had to go home at night and read. If you worked hard for him, he was willing to work hard for you," Dr. Weinstein said.

"He always said, `History gives you a sense of your place in the world,'" Dr. Weinstein added.

Ms. Fowler added: "And after all these years, his students are still faithful to him."

Mr. Carey also enjoyed wood turning and working on his lathe, where he produced wooden bowls. He also enjoyed travel.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Eline Funeral Home, 11824 Reisterstown Road, Reisterstown.

In addition to his wife of 42 years, he is survived by two daughters, Melanie C. Hall of Arlington, Va., and Shannon G. Lyons of Kensington; two sisters, Wyoma Bradley of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Bonnie Lee Carey of Loomis, Calif.; and three grandchildren.


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