Grace S. Rand

Grace S. Rand ( )

Grace S. Rand, a retired Baltimore County public school librarian and former Reisterstown resident, died Thursday of congestive heart failure at Carroll Lutheran Village in Westminster. She was 94.

The daughter of Edmund S. Scull, a Bethlehem Steel Corp. manager, and Myrtle Dowell Scull Rand, a homemaker, Grace Katherine Scull was born in Baltimore and raised in Sparrows Point.

"They had a house in the company town and lived at 1018 F Street," said her daughter, Grace Rand Nelson of Rockport, Texas. "The higher up you were in the company, you lived on a street that was closer to the top of the alphabet."

After graduating in 1936 from Sparrows Point High School, she enrolled at Western Maryland College, which is now McDaniel College.

After attending college for two years, Mrs. Rand withdrew and began teaching fifth-graders at Sparrows Point Elementary School.

"She had an earlier marriage to Gilbert Gorsuch, a Navy dentist, who lost his life in 1942, when his ship was torpedoed in the Caribbean," said Ms. Nelson, a former Peace Corps volunteer.

"She was wonderful around children, and one of my earliest memories was sitting with her and reading. She loved to read to children," her daughter said.

"During the emptiness between her two marriages, she taught children. I was the first of two children, and my pre-walking memories are of snuggling with her in the evening reading 'Mother Goose' and other books," Ms. Nelson said.

During World War II, Mrs. Rand worked at the Enoch Pratt Free Library and at Fort Holabird, where she met her future husband, William T. Rand, who was serving with the Marine Corps.

"She was the secretary to Bernard Sweeney, who was head of the Counter Intelligence Corps at Fort Holabird. She met my father when he came in to pick up his orders, and she said, 'Sergeant, must you smoke that cigar?' " said her daughter.

The couple married in 1949 and lived in Dundalk until moving to Randallstown in 1960. They later settled in Reisterstown.

While living in Reisterstown and working as an elementary school librarian, Mrs. Rand returned to college and earned a bachelor's degree in education in 1968 from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a master's degree, also in education, in 1971 from the Johns Hopkins University.

Mrs. Rand worked as a school librarian at Patapsco Neck Elementary School in Dundalk and later at Franklin Elementary School in Reisterstown.

When Hernwood Elementary School in Randallstown opened in 1967, Mrs. Rand became the school's first librarian, a position she retained until retiring in 1979.

Alice "Bunny" Bafford has been a Reisterstown neighbor and friend of Mrs. Rand's for more than 30 years.

"Grace was known for her sweet and gentle nature, but she also had the heart of a tiger and could cope with anything that came along, and she always did it with dignity," said Mrs. Bafford. "I didn't know her parents, but when they named her, they got it right. Whatever she did, she did with grace."

The two women also shared a love of nature.

"Whenever we saw a deer grazing in our yards or a bluebird sitting on a branch — she loved bluebirds — we'd call each other," said Mrs. Bafford.

Mrs. Rand was an inveterate world traveler and especially enjoyed trips to Alaska, Europe, Japan, Canada and Israel. She also decided to visit North Africa when her daughter was on a Peace Corps assignment in Tunisia.

A resident of Carroll Lutheran Village since 2005, Mrs. Rand was an avid reader.

"She was a Marylander at heart and loved her Chesapeake Bay," her daughter said.

Her husband, who had been an accountant for the Maryland State Department of Education and Maryland Rehabilitation Center, died in 2004.

Mrs. Rand had been a longtime active member of Reisterstown United Methodist Church.

Funeral services for Mrs. Rand will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Eline Funeral Home, 11824 Reisterstown Road, Reisterstown.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Rand is survived by a son, William T. "Ted" Rand III of Upperco; and two grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com