Anita Rhoades Cammon, 77, longtime city schoolteacher


Anita Rhoades Cammon, a retired Baltimore public schools English department chairwoman, died of complications from a stroke Monday at Northwest Hospital Center. The Windsor Hills resident was 77.

Born Anita Rudella Rhoades in Baltimore, she grew up in the Gilmor Homes and on Gold Street. She was a 1945 Frederick Douglass High School graduate. As a high school senior, she debated whether she should go into teaching or fashion design.

"As a young woman, she made her own clothes and did stylish sketches of fashion models," said her niece, Lona Rhoades Ba. "She also worked alongside her mother at catering jobs. In the end, she chose teaching."

Mrs. Cammon earned a bachelor's degree in English at what is now Morgan State University. She later earned a master's degree from Morgan.

She joined the Baltimore City Department of Education and taught at Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington middle schools.

"Her goal was to make sure that her students grasped and retained the fundamentals of reading and comprehension," her niece said. "She encouraged her students to appreciate classical literature, poetry and theater."

In 1983, after teaching for 34 years, she retired as English department chairwoman at Hampstead Hill Middle School, now Highlandtown Middle.

"She considered her time with her students as precious, and she took care to use it wisely," her niece said. "While in her charge, she urged each of her kids to pursue academic excellence, creative thought and expression with a thorough command of the English language."

Mrs. Cammon read widely in literature and history. She was also a fan of jazz and as a young woman attended many of the musical venues along Pennsylvania Avenue. She knew Cab Calloway, a family friend of her paternal grandmother. She also told of seeing Miles Davis perform in her old neighborhood.

Her niece said her aunt balked at changing technology. She did not use a computer and wrote letters on a manual typewriter. She used a rotary-dial phone until recently and retained her Beta video player and tapes.

After retiring, she often entertained former students at her home.

She was a former member of Sharon Baptist Church, where she sang in the choir as a student.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Joseph P. Brown Funeral Home, 2140 N. Fulton Street.

Survivors include her son, Edmund A. Lonesome; a brother, Rudolph H. Rhoades Jr., both of Baltimore; and additional nieces and nephews. In the late 1960s she married Dr. Ulester Cammon a psychologist. He died in 1998. A previous marriage to Earl Lonesome ended in divorce.

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