Robin D. Coblentz, a retired McDonogh School educator and editor who worked on the presidential papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower that were published by the Johns Hopkins University Press, died of lymphoma Jan. 2 at Gilchrist Hospice Care.
She was 78.
Robin Donaldson, the daughter of an architect and a newspaper editor, was born in New York City and raised in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
After graduating from Bellows High School in 1949, she earned a bachelor's degree from Goucher College in 1953. She earned a master's degree in history in 1966 from Columbia University.
When Mrs. Coblentz began teaching English at McDonogh School in 1963, and later history, it was still an all-male semi-military school.
"History was her forte, and the students were very fond of her. She brought an intellectual vigor and a sense of exploration to things whether it was finding the best canoe to use on the Potomac River or working with presidential papers," said William C. Mules, former headmaster and a longtime friend and colleague.
Mrs. Coblentz chaired the co-education committee that resulted in the first woman, being admitted to the school in 1975.
"She brought real soul to the old place and made both young men and women comfortable. She really had a great heart," Mr. Mules recalled.
She also served as McDonogh's first female admissions director, a position she held from 1977 until retiring in 1988.
"Robin stands in the middle of that welter, knee-deep in folders and phone calls, calmly and politely listening to the most important topic at hand, the next applicant," read a tribute on the occasion of her 25th anniversary at McDonogh.
"With care, precision and seemingly endless compassion, Robin selects from among the bold and the bashful," it said.
"She had an intuitive sense of what is good in young people, and she sees far beyond the shallow measures of test scores and grades, the customary credentials of an applicant's file. 'Measures we take, but not with a tape,' " she said.
After leaving McDonogh, Mrs. Coblentz went to work at Johns Hopkins University, where she spent the next 13 years as associate editor of "The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower," which cover the period of 1941 to 1961.
"She was a meticulous and hardworking documentary editor," said Elizabeth S. "Betsy" Hughes, who was executive editor on the project, and is now vice president of Vane Brothers Co., a Baltimore marine services company.
The 14,000-page project began in the 1960s, when President Eisenhower gave his presidential papers to Johns Hopkins, and also included documents from the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kan., and other repositories of Eisenhower material in the U.S. and England.
"She was extremely scholarly and helped in organizing the papers that tell the story of Ike's life and career," Mrs. Hughes said.
Mrs. Coblentz later worked as an editor at the Maryland Historical Society Magazine, edited the Baltimore Museum of Art Print & Drawing Society Newsletter and worked with Frank R. Shivers, author of "Bolton Hill: Classic Baltimore Neighborhood."
"When she was at the historical society, I had written a piece about Benjamin Quarles [the distinguished African-American historian and longtime Morgan University professor], and she called me up to praise something I had written," said Thomas S. Cripps, a Bolton Hill neighbor and author, who is a noted expert on African-American films.
"I described him as a 'courtly man,' which she said caught the man rather than just the scholar," Mr. Cripps said.
Mrs. Coblentz, who had lived at Lanvale Street and Park Avenue before moving to Roland Park in 2004, was an active member and a deacon of Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church. She also volunteered with Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland.
Mrs. Coblentz was an avid skier and tennis player.
On the tennis court, she was gracious yet competitive. She was still playing tennis a month before her death," said Lynn Cripps, who played with Mrs. Coblentz at the Bolton Hill Swim & Tennis Club and at Cross Keys.
She enjoyed playing bridge and attending the opera and movies.
Her husband of 31 years, Richard G. Coblentz, a McDonogh educator, died in 1983.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Jan. 17 at her church, 1316 Park Ave.
Surviving are two daughters, Carter E. Stover of Hampstead and Cristin C. Fair of Takoma Park; a sister, Laurie Montanye of Old Forge, N.Y.; David K. Welsh, of San Diego, whom Mrs Coblentz took into her home when he was 12, after the death of his parents; four grandchildren and several nieces.