Mary Elizabeth Dyer Corrin, a code-breaker during World War II and former teacher at two Towson-area elementary schools, died June 30 of lung cancer at the Blakehurst retirement community. She was 92.
The daughter of Navy Vice Adm. George C. Dyer, Mrs. Corrin was born in Manila in the Philippines; by the time she graduated from high school, she told her family later, she had attended 22 different schools.
While her family was stationed in Hawaii, Mrs. Corrin traveled by boat and train to attend Smith College in Massachusetts, where she majored in math. While she was attending Smith and her father was at sea, Mrs. Corrin's mother and youngest sister witnessed the 1941 bombardment of Pearl Harbor from their home.
Mrs. Corrin joined the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) during World War II and worked at decoding Japanese merchant fleet messages — a fact she didn't reveal to her family until 2000, when the Navy gave its officers permission to talk about top-secret operations during the war, said daughter Adaline Corrin of San Diego.
In 1945, she married Brownlee S. Corrin, an Army officer and Stanford University graduate. The couple settled in Palo Alto, Calif., and both attended graduate school at Stanford, studying political science. He husband went on to get his doctorate, while Mrs. Corrin suspended her studies to raise a family. The couple eventually moved to Towson, as Dr. Corrin began a long association with Goucher College, where he taught political science and international relations and helped establish the school's department of communications.
When her youngest child was 8, Mrs. Corrin decided to resume her studies. She enrolled in the graduate program at Goucher and in 1967 was awarded a master's degree in education. Shortly thereafter, she began teaching at Lida Lee Tall School in Towson. After a few years there, her daughter said, Mrs. Corrin took a job teaching at Pleasant Plains Elementary, where she remained until retiring around 1990.
A funeral service is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Epiphany Episcopal Church, 2216 Pot Spring Road in Timonium.
In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Corrin is survived by another daughter, Rebecca Corrin of Birmingham, Mich., and a son, John Corrin of Mechanicsburg, Pa. She is also survived by a sister, Ginger Smith of South Myrtle Beach, S.C., as well as 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Her husband died in 1985; another son, David Corrin, died in 1998.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun