Harriett Ann Colder, a reading specialist who established a remedial education company that helped students with English, math and reading, died Tuesdayof multiple organ failure at Howard County General Hospital. The longtime Ellicott City resident was 74.

The former Harriett Ann Orth, who went by Ann, was born in Baltimore and raised in Towson.

After graduating from Towson High School in 1955, she earned her bachelor's degree from what is now Towson University in 1959. In the early 1960s, she earned a master's degree in remedial reading and diagnosis of learning disabilities from Loyola College of Maryland.

Mrs. Colder started her career teaching reading at Hampton Elementary School and left in 1967 when she became a reading resource specialist for Prince George's County public schools. From 1969 to 1971, she held a similar job for Montgomery County public schools.

"She wanted to start her own practice in reading instruction and in the diagnosis of reading problems," said her husband of 48 years, Neale Colder, a retired Verizon systems analyst.

In 1972, Mrs. Colder established Remedial Education Services and worked with students to help them to improve or learn to read, as well as to expand their math and English skills.

"She helped countless students," her husband said. "She was extremely good at creating lessons specifically for each of her students, especially when age-related teaching material did not fit the student's [ability.]"

Jimmie Anderson Miller says he was 15 and "your classic dyslexic" when he turned to Mrs. Colder for help.

"Everything appeared backward to me," said Mr. Miller, 19, of Annapolis. "I dropped out in the fifth grade because my teachers couldn't teach me anything. It was so bad, I couldn't even read a street sign."

Mr. Miller said he was Mrs. Colder's student from 2008 to 2011.

"She taught me how to read. She taught me math," said Mr. Miller, who credits Mrs. Colder for his ability to get a job as a sign and banner maker with Vista Photography, an Odenton sign company.

"Mrs. Colder was understanding, patient and was so kind-hearted. If there was anything she could do in her power for anybody, then she'd do it," he said. "I can go through life now. I'm in the process of getting my GED at Anne Arundel Community College."

Mrs. Colder, who lived in Ellicott City for 44 years, enjoyed reading for relaxation, her husband said. She also was an avid flower gardener and traveler. She had toured much of the United States and Canada, and six European countries, he said.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Harry H. Witzke's Family Funeral Home, 4112 Old Columbia Pike, Ellicott City.

In addition to her husband, Mrs. Colder is survived by a son, Steven Colder of Westport, Conn.; a daughter, Linda Pinne of Atlanta; and a grandson.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com