Gerard McCarron

Age 72: Longtime administrator and teacher in Baltimore City schools 'could handle the toughest situations.'

June 04, 2008|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,Sun Reporter

Gerard E. "Jerry" McCarron, whose career as a Baltimore public school educator spanned 32 years and included stints teaching social studies and serving as assistant principal at three city high schools, died of multiple myeloma Saturday at his Rodgers Forge home. He was 72.

Mr. McCarron was born in Baltimore and raised on Ramona Avenue. He was a 1953 graduate of Calvert Hall College High School, where he had been an outstanding first-baseman and soccer goalie.

During his senior year, he was named to the Maryland Scholastic Association's All Star baseball team, sharing honors with Al Kaline from Southern High School, who later was a Detroit Tigers outfielder and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

During the summer months, Mr. McCarron played for area baseball teams that were sponsored by The Daily Record, Leone's and Atlantic Cleaners.

"He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians but decided to go to college instead," said a daughter, Sister Patricia McCarron, headmistress of Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson.

Mr. McCarron continued his athletic prowess at Loyola College, where he played on several all-star teams while earning a bachelor's degree in political science in 1957. In 1970, he earned a master's degree in U.S. history from the University of Maryland, College Park.

He began his teaching career in 1957 at Calvert Hall, where he taught U.S. and world history for five years, and coached baseball.

In 1962, he began teaching social studies at Edmondson High School, and then spent the remaining 26 years of his career as assistant principal at Walbrook Senior High, Frederick Douglass High School and Northern High School, from which he retired in 1994.

"He worked in some of the most troubled city schools because he wanted to make them better. He worked well with the faculty and students because he had the great gift of being a good listener," said Sister Sharon Slear, S.S.N.D., the dean of education at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland and a longtime friend.

His wife of 46 years, the former Mary Elizabeth Wingate, said her husband enjoyed the challenges of an urban school setting.

"He wanted to try and help the students because he believed that they were good people. He wanted to make things better for them," Mrs. McCarron said. "He was interested in people and was understanding and kind."

Mr. McCarron had no trouble existing in difficult academic situations.

"He could handle the toughest situations and schools because he was unassuming and quiet-mannered," she said. "Yet, he was also firm."

When a student who was about to be suspended was brought to Mr. McCarron's office, he was never dismissive or heavy-handed when explaining his disciplinary actions.

"Jerry would let them talk and he'd listen. He encouraged that and was never nasty. And when he'd tell them that he had no choice but to suspend them, he also let them know that he was sorry that he had to let them go," Mrs. McCarron said.

Mr. McCarron became a well-known and highly respected figure during his years with city schools.

"He was a skilled administrator, dedicated educator and a real gentleman. He was beloved as a man of integrity, extraordinary talent and enormous generosity," Sister Patricia said. "He earned the respect of students, teachers, parents and staff through his strong work ethic."

Mr. McCarron was coaxed from retirement in 1996 by Sister Sharon at the College of Notre Dame.

"The reason I got Jerry out of retirement was because he was the right man at the right time and right place to become director of field placement for our student teachers. He was also an expert in professional development and schools and, of course, had such wonderful interpersonal skills when working with the teachers," Sister Sharon said.

Mr. McCarron's lifework earned him many awards, including the first St. John Baptist de La Salle Award, which was presented to him by Calvert Hall in 2004.

Last month, he was nominated for membership in the Calvert Hall Alumni Hall of Fame.

Mr. McCarron, who had lived in Rodgers Forge for 46 years, was an active communicant at St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church, and was recently honored along with his wife with a Friends of St. Pius X award on the 50th anniversary of the church. The award was in recognition for 50 couples or individuals who had been "pillars of the parish community," his daughter said.

In 2002, Mr. McCarron was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. "He suffered with grace, kindness and patience as he fought his cancer for the last six years," Mrs. McCarron said.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. tomorrow at his church, York and Overbrook roads.

Also surviving are a son, Dr. Edward McCarron of Kingsville; two other daughters, Kathleen E. Landers of Parkville and Mary Agnes Sheridan of Cockeysville; and three grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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