Alice Beer Engeman, a retired director of music studies for the Baltimore City Department of Education and a Peabody Institute faculty member, died of respiratory failure Saturday at Good Samaritan Hospital. She was 99 and lived in Towson.
Born Alice Elizabeth Stewart in Redwood County, Minn., she earned bachelor's and master's degrees in music from Northwestern University. She played the piano and taught in Mattawan and Battle Creek, Mich., schools.
She moved with her family to Towson in 1951 and joined the Baltimore City Department of Education as a music specialist. She was elementary schools city music supervisor from 1953 to 1977.
"She was a role model and inspired others," said her son, W. Robert Beer of Brooklyn, N.Y. "She was an upbeat woman who faced her challenges with energy, a smile and a good outlook."
Family members said she ran the schools' music education program and often drove from building to building to teach or to observe young teachers. She also wrote music education instructional books and helped produce audio-visual materials.
"She was my boss, my adviser, my mentor and friend. She drove me around the city showing me my schools, introducing me to principals and questioning me about what I would do when I faced my first classes," said Linda Pawelek, a retired teacher who lives in Hamden, Conn. "She basically taught me how to do the job — the do's and don'ts — in that drive around. She was well renowned and highly respected in her field."
During the summers, she ran music workshops in Mexico City, Charleston, S.C., and Bangor, Maine.
After retiring from the Baltimore public school system in 1978, she became an adjunct professor at the Peabody Institute.
She enjoyed dancing at the Greenspring Valley Inn.
She was a past president of the Pickersgill Retirement Community. She was inducted into the Maryland Music Educators Hall of Fame in 1989.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Towson Presbyterian Church, 402 W. Chesapeake Ave., where she had been elder.
In addition to her son, survivors include two daughters, Jane Mosher of Timonium and Elizabeth Shilling of Anneslie; seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. Her husband of 34 years, William Anthony Beer, died in 1975. Her second husband, John Thomas Engeman, died in 1984.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun