Marie J. Clasing, a homemaker and volunteer who earned a bachelor’s degree at the age of 74, died Tuesday of cardio-obstructive pulmonary disease at Bonnie Blink, the Maryland Masonic Home in Hunt Valley.
The longtime Essex resident was 94.
The daughter of William Wiegand, a Miller Bros. pastry chef, and May Margaret Wiegand, a homemaker, Marie Janet Wiegand was born in Baltimore.
After her parents died when she was 6 years old, she was raised by an uncle and aunt at their Rosedale farm.
She was a 1940 graduate of Kenwood High School and began her college studies at the old Eastern College of Commerce & Law in Baltimore.
Her college studies were interrupted after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, when she left and went to work as a payroll clerk at Western Electric’s Point Breeze works, where by war’s end she had risen to a management post.
After the end of World War II, she met and fell in love with Alfred E. Clasing Jr., whom she married in 1949. The couple settled in Essex, where they raised their six children.
Mr. Clasing, who was a superintendent in Bethlehem Steel Corp.’s tin division and was an ardent supporter of the preservation of the Back River Neck peninsula, died in 2015.
Mrs. Clasing was active in the PTAs of the various schools her children attended, as well as the Boy Scouts and many community associations. She was also a member of Back River Neck Methodist Church.
After her youngest child graduated from high school, she decided at the age of 60 to resume her college studies and enrolled at what is now the Community College of Baltimore County’s Dundalk campus, where she earned an associate’s degree and was named class valedictorian.
Determined to earn a bachelor’s degree, she entered what is now Towson University. But during her first year, she was diagnosed with advanced glaucoma and was forced to withdraw from school.
For the next decade, she and her husband consulted numerous physicians in hopes of finding a medical solution to her problems.
“At age 73 and with very little sight remaining, she enrolled at the old McKendree College ... where she earned her bachelor’s degree in 1997,” said a son, Alfred E. Claring III of Essex.
For her civic service, courage and achievement, family members said, she was inducted into the Kenwood High School Hall of Fame.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Connelly Funeral Home of Essex, 300 Mace Ave.
She is survived by four other sons, Bruce C. Clasing of Cockeysville, Harold B. Clasing of Parkton, Raymond J. Clasing of Forest Hill and David P. Clasing of Chesapeake, Va.; a daughter, Kimberly J. Hock of Forest Hill; 17 grandchildren; and a great-grandduaghter.