Lillian N. Conklin, a former admissions director at Roland Park Country School and St. Paul's School for Girls who was known for her warmth and sense of humor, died June 14 of colitis at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. She was 85.
"Not only was Lil the mother of two alumnae and the devoted grandmother of an alumna, but I often heard from my predecessor, the late Anne Healy, headmistress from 1950 to 1975, that Lil was indispensable to her and that her warmth and professionalism were greatly treasured," said Jean Waller Brune, head of Roland Park Country School.
The daughter of a tire company executive and a homemaker, Lillian Nellen was born and raised in Merion, Pa.
She was a 1946 graduate of Lower Merion High School. She attended Linden Hall college preparatory school in Lititz, Pa., and later graduated from Peirce College in Philadelphia.
She was working as the secretary to the Haverford College controller when she met William T. Conklin, whom she married in 1950.
After briefly living in King of Prussia, Pa., the couple moved to Homeland and later Rodgers Forge before settling in a home on Indian Head Road in Ruxton in 1970.
From 1955 to 1957, Mrs. Conklin was secretary to the Rev. Bennett J. Sims, who was then rector of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer until he was named the sixth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta.
In 1957, Mrs. Conklin joined the staff of Roland Park Country School, where from 1966 until 1976 she was the private girls school's admissions director.
"She likes people and cares deeply about them, and the respect and affection she elicited from students in grades one through twelve enabled her to be helpful to families as well as to the faculty," wrote Anne Healy at the time of Mrs. Conklin's departure from Roland Park.
"In her discretion and sensitivity, understanding and intelligence, and in her expectations for herself and others, Mrs. Conklin enabled me to be a better administrator than I otherwise could have been," wrote Miss Healy.
"When you came in the old University Parkway entrance when the school was located on 40th Street, Mrs. Conklin's desk was on the right, across the hall from Miss Healy. She was such a warm and welcoming face and had a sincere interest in people," said Kathy Hudson, a Baltimore writer who graduated from Roland Park in 1967.
"And every morning she'd later be at the bookstore, where she had quite a fan club. Everybody wanted to talk to Mrs. Conklin, who brought balance to an intensely academic atmosphere," said Ms. Hudson. "She had a great sense of humor, loved to joke around and brought lots of levity to Roland Park."
Mrs. Conklin joined St. Paul's School for Girls in Brooklandville in 1976, where she was admissions director until retiring in the late 1980s.
She then earned her real estate license and worked for O'Conor, Piper & Flynn for several years.
"Alumnae from both schools have fond memories of her, as she was always interested in their lives and was a friendly face on stressful days at school," said a daughter, Kathleen Tyler "Kathy" Conklin, who lives in Falls Church, Va.
For years, Mrs. Conklin performed in Paint and Powder Club productions. She was also an avid bicyclist and had ridden through the Loire Valley, the Netherlands and along the Danube River.
An accomplished pianist, Mrs. Conklin enjoyed attending performances at the old Morris Mechanic Theatre and the Lyric Opera House. She was also an Orioles and Ravens fan.
Mrs. Conklin was a longtime communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., where a memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday.
In addition to her daughter and husband, a retired tire company executive, Mrs. Conklin is survived by another daughter, Cynthia Bancroft Conklin of Federal Hill; and two grandchildren.
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