Mary N.C. Redd, a retired city public schools educator and active volunteer, died Aug. 17 of a cardiac arrest at Sinai Hospital. The longtime Ashburton resident was 88.
The daughter of a doctor and a homemaker, Mary Cornelia Nixon Camper was born at home in the 1400 block of N. Mount St. and was raised on North Carey Street.
"She was delivered at home by her father," said her daughter, Teresa Redd of Silver Spring.
After graduating from Douglass High School in 1942, she earned a bachelor's degree in 1946 from what was then Coppin State Teachers College.
Because the University of Maryland did not admit African-Americans at the time, the state paid for Mrs. Redd to attend the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a master's degree in education in 1951. In 1966, she received a certificate in advanced study in education from the Johns Hopkins University.
She began teaching in 1946 in city elementary schools. Until retiring in 1980, she was a classroom teacher, reading specialist and administrator.
She established a reading center at Alexander Hamilton Elementary School for fourth- and fifth-grade students "who were told they would never learn to read, and [she] turned them into readers," her daughter said.
Mrs. Redd later served as assistant principal at Lexington Terrace Elementary School and Highlandtown Elementary-Middle School before she was transferred to Arlington Elementary School as assistant principal in 1970.
When Mrs. Redd arrived, she found a low-achieving school, which she helped to turn around by the time she retired.
"In 1980, The Baltimore Sun named the school as one of 16 'schools that work,' " her daughter said.
In her retirement, Mrs. Redd sold real estate, worked as an administrator for the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners, taught reading at Baltimore City Community College and volunteered for the Orton Dyslexia Society.
She also established a literacy program for adults at St. Katherine of Alexandria Episcopal Church.
Mrs. Redd studied watercolors at the Waxter Center and enjoyed taking cruises with friends and "dancing the night away," her daughter said. She also enjoyed thoroughbred horse racing and liked playing bridge and pinochle.
Funeral services will be held at noon Saturday at March West Funeral Home, 4300 Wabash Ave.
Mrs. Redd is also survived by her son, Rudolph Redd Jr. of Baltimore; a brother, Nixon Camper of Baltimore; two sisters, Ellen C. Johns and Elizabeth Jones, both of Baltimore; and two grandsons. A marriage to Rudolph Redd Sr. ended in divorce.