Catherine Allen Wilson, 87, teacher

April 30, 2006

Catherine Allen Dickey Wilson, a former teacher at the Gilman School and enthusiastic volunteer in music therapy, died of cancer Wednesday at her daughter's Potomac home. She was 87.

For years, Mrs. Wilson, who was known as Allen, enjoyed traveling around the world, playing tennis and visiting with her family, according to her daughter, Dr. Carol Wilson Garvey. She realized she was ill in March when she found her tennis game faltering. But Mrs. Wilson was able to attend one last family gathering later that month in Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean, spending time with her family, including her great-grandchildren.

A dedicated smoker, Mrs. Wilson chafed at public smoking restrictions and implored her family to make it known that she did not die of lung cancer.

"We tried to get her to quit," Dr. Garvey said. "It didn't work."

Her four children were at her bedside before her death.

Catherine Allen Dickey always went by her middle name, which she was given in memory of an uncle who died in World War I. She grew up in Eden Terrace in Catonsville in a home later demolished to make way for the Baltimore Beltway. She graduated from the Bryn Mawr School in 1937 and received degrees from Bradford Junior College in Massachusetts and what is now the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study at Tufts University.

In 1941, she married David Herbert Wilson, a Baltimore architect whose midcentury modern homes and buildings in the Baltimore area won numerous awards. He died in November.

She taught kindergarten and reading and was a librarian at the Gilman School from 1952 to 1969.

An active volunteer, she donated her services at Sheppard Pratt Hospital for 29 years.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1316 Park Ave.

At her request, her body will be donated to the State Anatomy Board.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Wilson is survived by another daughter, Catherine Dickey Wilson of New York City; two sons, David Herbert Wilson Jr. of Stockton Springs, Maine, and Christopher Shryock Wilson of Baltimore; three grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; six step-grandchildren; and six step-great-grandchildren.

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