Evelyn G. Calhoun, a retired Baltimore County educator and world traveler who was also a thoroughbred racing fan, died Sunday of pancreatic cancer at her Parkton home.
She was 89.
Evelyn Gertrude Dennis, the daughter of a steelworker and a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised in the 700 block of N. Port St.
She was 16 when she graduated from Patterson High School in 1939. During World War II, she worked as a civilian stenographer for the Army at Fort Sill, Okla.
She marfried John H. Calhoun, an Army Air Forces officer, in 1942. After the war, the couple enrolled at what was then Oklahoma A&M University.
Mr. Calhoun, a lawyer, died in 1983.
She earned a bachelor's degree from what is now Towson University and a master's degree in education in 1975 from what is now Loyola University Maryland.
A fifth-grade and seventh-grade teacher, Mrs. Calhoun taught at Seventh District, Sparks, Cockeysville and Summit Park elementary schools for 25 years. She retired in 1977.
"In an age long before the Internet, she prided herself on always being able to find an answer to any question from her students," said her son, John L. Calhoun, who lives in Cockeysville. "She would usually find the answer by using whatever research materials were available at the Enoch Pratt Free Library."
When Mrs. Calhoun was facing breast cancer surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1964, she had no doubt she would have a successful recovery.
"She told her students that the doctors at Hopkins would make her well because they were highly trained and educated," her son said.
After leaving teaching, Mrs. Calhoun worked for a decade as a part-time legal secretary for former Baltimore County state Sen. James A. Pine, who was a powerhouse in county Democratic Party circles for nearly two decades.
After fully retiring in the late 1980s, Mrs. Calhoun indulged her passion for traveling and going to the racetrack.
"She enjoyed horse racing all her life and visited all the major tracks in the East," her son said.
"She always praised Saratoga, Churchill Downs and Belmont Park. As a young woman, she witnessed the great match race of Seabiscuit and War Admiral at Pimlico in 1938," he said.
Mrs. Calhoun took extended trips to Europe, China and Australia, which always "included a stopover in Ireland," her son said.
"She had been to all 48 continental states, many through her work during the war. She kissed the Blarney Stone and walked the Great Wall of China," he said.
Blanche A. Bull, a retired Freeland businesswoman, was Mrs. Calhoun's sidekick on many of her domestic trips.
"I was her husband's client and later her son's, who was also a lawyer. She lost her husband two years after I lost mine, and then we began traveling," recalled Mrs. Bull. "We traveled all over the country, but we never left the U.S. It was fantastic."
Mrs. Bull described her traveling companion as being "witty, interesting and then some."
"We went to casinos and plenty of horse races. One of my favorite trips was to Saratoga. We went to the races and I had absolutely no idea of what I was doing, but she showed me," Mrs. Bull said with a laugh.
"Another time, we were in Arizona and enrolled in a course at the university," she said.
Mrs. Calhoun, who enjoyed playing the piano and singing, was particularly fond of Broadway shows.
"Her favorite show, by far, was 'Oklahoma.' She and her husband were living in Oklahoma when it played on Broadway," her son said.
"Not only did we go to Broadway shows, we also went to the opera in New York," said Mrs. Bull. "We had a fantastic 30 years."
A memorial service was held Friday. A service at Arlington National Cemetery, where she will be buried next to her husband, is private.
Also surviving are two grandchildren.