Kathleen W. Pirone dies at age 65

Educator who provided home tutoring in reading, writing and study skills

September 09, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | Baltimore Sun reporter

Kathleen W. Pirone, a lifelong educator who provided home tutoring for students in reading, writing and study skills, died Sept. 2 of pancreatic cancer at Gilchrist Hospice Care. She was 65.

Kathleen W. Wills, the daughter of a feed grain store salesman and a homemaker, was born and raised in Petersburg, Va.

After graduating from Petersburg High School in 1963, she earned a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in French in 1967 from the University of Richmond.

Mrs. Pirone worked for a year for the Hartford Insurance Co. before becoming a second-grade teacher in 1968 in Prince George County, Va., public schools.

After her marriage in 1970 to Richard M. Pirone, a restaurateur, she left teaching and moved to Washington.

He died last year.

The couple moved to St. Albans Way in Homeland in the early 1970s, when Mr. Pirone and an old friend from graduate school, Stuart Teper, opened Country Fare Inn near Reisterstown.

From 1985 to 1993, Mrs. Pirone was a part-time reading and math teacher at Friends School, where she was also an assistant science teacher and substitute teacher.

For three years, she was a tutor and conducted pre- and post-testing evaluation of students for the tutoring company Reach.

In 1994, she joined the faculty of Garrison Forest School, where she was a preschool and lower school reading specialist.

After completing the Orton-Gillingham reading courses at the Jemicy School in 1991, and later Bowman Educational Services in Columbia, Mrs. Pirone worked as head tutor of Bowman's Connections Project from 1996 to 1998.

She was coordinator and tutor of the Regina Inclusion Plan at the Cathedral School from 1998 to 2004.

For four years until retiring last year, Mrs. Pirone had conducted a private home tutoring service, working with students from ages 5 to 17 in improving their reading, writing and study skills.

Her professional memberships included the International Dyslexia Association, Regina Advisory Council of the Cathedral School and the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators.

Mrs. Pirone, who had lived at Elkridge Estates in North Roland Park for the past few years, was an avid swimmer and sailor, sports she had learned in her youth growing up on the York River in Virginia.

She was a member and certified skipper of the Downtown Sailing Center. She also liked biking and walking, and had practiced yoga for more than 20 years.

For years, Mrs. Pirone and her family enjoyed vacationing at A Drop More, a summer home on Nantucket Island, Mass.

"She had courage. Given a diagnosis of only a few months, she lived 11," said a daughter, Cary L. Pirone of North Roland Park.

"And during that time, she took up new hobbies. She learned how to knit, copied books of poetry and watched the birds through binoculars from her first-floor apartment," Ms. Pirone said. "She appreciated the small things in life."

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Stony Run Meeting House, 5116 N. Charles St.

Also surviving are another daughter, Miriam W. Pirone of Boston; a sister, Elizabeth McGowan of Dahlgren, Va.; and a granddaughter.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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