Eileen S. Dezell, 78, high school guidance counselor, teacher

September 14, 2006|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,sun reporter

Eileen S. Dezell, a retired Baltimore County high school guidance counselor and a founding communicant of a Timonium church, died Saturday of complications from dementia at Oak Crest Village in Parkville, where she had lived since 2003. She was 78.

Born Eileen Sullivan in Brooklyn, N.Y., she was raised in Scarsdale, N.Y. She was a 1950 graduate of Trinity College in Washington, where she earned a bachelor's degree in education and was class president.

She earned a master's degree in education from Columbia University in 1952 and a master's in counseling from the Johns Hopkins University in 1970.

Mrs. Dezell taught for several years at schools in New York City's Harlem and in Moorestown, N.J., before moving to Lutherville in the late 1960s. She taught from 1971 to 1973 at Clifton Park Junior High School and from 1973 to 1978 at Perry Hall Junior High.

She was a guidance counselor for a decade at Dulaney High School before retiring in 1988.

"We worked together for a long time, and you couldn't have asked for a better person to work with kids. She had empathy for them and their problems," said Robert F. Fanto, retired guidance department chairman. "Her office was always packed with kids waiting to see her, and after they graduated, they'd come back to school to visit with her.

"Eileen had a great sense of humor and radiated a big smile. She was always up, and I never heard anything negative from her. I thought of her as St. Eileen because she was one super-duper person."

Mrs. Dezell arrived at school early in the morning and stayed late.

"Some people walk out the door, but not Eileen. She'd stay late to see kids who couldn't see her during the day. She worried about them, and I know if a kid had a special problem, she'd worry about it off the job," Mr. Fanto said.

Mrs. Dezell's concern for people carried over into her church work at Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Roman Catholic Church, which she helped establish in 1968.

She served on the parish council, founded an education and youth group at the church, and aided its pastor in counseling.

"She was a lovely lady who was very religious, smart and bright. She was prudent and had good common sense, and was very incisive when it came to figuring out people," said the Rev. Charles F. Meisel, a retired Nativity pastor. "She was well-liked and always saw the bright side and good in things."

Mrs. Dezell volunteered with My Sister's Place, a downtown Baltimore shelter for women and children. She had been a 50-year active member of her college's alumni association.

She enjoyed Elderhostel trips and had visited Alaska, Europe and Korea.

Her husband of 34 years, Joseph F. Dezell Jr., an insurance salesman, died in 1986.

A funeral Mass was offered Tuesday in the chapel at Oak Crest.

Surviving are three sons, Joseph F. Dezell III of Media, Pa., Thomas R. Dezell of Bel Air and James E. Dezell of Pound Ridge, N.Y.; two daughters, Maureen F. Dezell of Brookline, Mass., and Elizabeth M. McGowan of Crofton; a brother, the Rev. Raymond F. Sullivan of Ossining, N.Y.; a sister, Sheila Teschemacher of Jupiter, Fla.; and 11 grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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