Mary Katherine Scheeler

Towson attorney practiced law for 57 years and was a Goucher College trustee and schools advocate

  • Mary Scheeler
Mary Scheeler (Baltimore Sun )
April 05, 2011|By Jacques Kelly, The Baltimore Sun | Baltimore Sun reporter

Mary Katherine Scheeler, an attorney and Goucher College trustee who often wrote about the Hampton mansion, died of a stroke Thursday at Gilchrist Hospice Care. She was 83 and lived in Towson.

Born Mary Katherine Scarborough in Baltimore, she was raised on the Grantley Road section of Ashburton. She was a 1945 Western High School graduate and earned a bachelor's degree from Goucher College in 1949. She then taught at Garrison Junior High School and attended the University of Maryland School of Law at night. She was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1953.

While in law school, she met her future husband, Charles Sheeler.

"I met her in 1949. She brazenly asked me what time it was. I responded by asking her out for an ice cream. I was a year ahead of her in law school, and before I knew it, she had my first-year law books," her husband said.

She set up a law practice, Scheeler and Scheeler, in her Seminary Avenue home. "There probably weren't 12 women practicing law in the state at that time," said her son, Charles P. Scheeler, also an attorney, who lives in Towson.

Mrs. Scheeler practiced law for 57 years. She worked in trusts and estates. In her work, she often visited the homes of elderly clients and advised them on their legal affairs.

"She practiced an holistic brand of law and sometimes even forgot to cash the checks she'd been given," her son said. "When some could not afford to pay, she accepted a nice meal."

Mrs. Scheeler was active in Baltimore County civic affairs. She had served on the boards of Franklin Square Hospital Medical Center, Historic Hampton Inc., the Lutherville-Timonium Recreation Council and the Baltimore County Historical Society, where she was the 1991-1993 vice president.

"She had a sharp mind and was helpful to our board," said Richard Parsons, a retired Baltimore County librarian active in the historic society.

Mrs. Scheeler was also a judge for a 1958 to 1963 television quiz show, "It's in the Name," a contest in which players frantically made words from the letters in a longer word.

"She was not infallible. I sat in a rocking chair with my cowboy hat on as a child and watched her," her son said. "It was live TV. I was horrified the time a disgruntled contestant chased my mother across the set after she failed to give him credit for a word recognized by Webster's dictionary."

Mrs. Scheeler was a Goucher College trustee.

"She had a ready smile, and she watched the college grow and change," said the school's former president, Rhoda Dorsey. "She was unfailingly supportive, even when she didn't agree with you."

For many years Mrs. Scheeler wrote a neighborhoods column for the Towson Times and filled it with names and tidbits about the Hampton section of Baltimore County.

"She loved the Hampton Tea Room and reported about it in her column," said Dr. Dorsey, the former Goucher president. "She thought it was a place that was quiet, had good food and supported good conversation."

In 1993 Gov. William Donald Schaefer named her to Baltimore County Board of Education. She had earlier been president of the Hampton Elementary, Towsontown Junior High and Loch Raven Senior High PTAs. She had earlier chaired the Advisory Council for Gifted and Talented Education.

In 2010 she received the Star Award for lifetime achievements on behalf of the University of Maryland School of Law.

"She was an outstanding attorney and community leader," said Phoebe A. Haddon, dean of the University of Maryland School of Law. "She had an engaging and wry sense of humor and gave many years of leadership to the community."

A celebration of her life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Haebler Memorial Chapel on the Goucher College campus.

In addition to her son, survivors include her husband of 57 years; two other sons, George D. Scheeler and Donald C. Scheeler, both of Towson; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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