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Memorial services for Carutherses Friday in SalisburyA...


Memorial services for Carutherses Friday in Salisbury

A memorial service for James Wade Caruthers, an educator and historian, will be held at 2 p.m. Friday in the Social Room of Salisbury State University. Dr. Caruthers and his wife, Gwynette Thompson Caruthers, died Sunday in an automobile crash on U.S. 50 at Mardela Springs. He was 74.

He was the son of the late Dr. T. J. Caruthers, one of the founding faculty of what is now Salisbury State University. Dr. James Caruthers was former chairman of the university's Alumni Board and received its 1991 alumni appreciation award.

Dr. Caruthers was born in 1917 in Perryville, Mo. In 1925, his father was invited to join the original faculty of the new teacher training college in Salisbury. It took the family a week, camping out along the way, to make the trip by car from Missouri to the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

He grew up in the house now run by the university as a residence for honors students. Through seventh grade he attended the Campus School, a laboratory school run by the college. In 1934 he graduated from Wicomico High School.

In 1938 Dr. Caruthers received his degree in elementary education from Salisbury State University. He also played varsity basketball there, starting at center.

During summers, he and several other students were employed as "beetle boys," a program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to trap Japanese beetles on farms across the Eastern Shore. It was good pay for those Depression years, and his route often seemed to take him through Hurlock, where his fellow student and wife-to-be lived with her parents. In 1940 they were married.

After Pearl Harbor, Dr. Caruthers was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy. He served on minesweepers operating out of Curacao in the Caribbean, advancing to commanding officer of two different vessels by the end of World War II.

He used his GI Bill entitlements to earn a doctorate in history from Columbia University. He had scarcely begun his teaching career in higher education, at Keene State University in Keene, N.H., when he was stricken in the nationwide polio epidemic of 1951. After a time, he recuperated to the point that he could teach from a wheelchair. At times, more than 500 students a week would come through the Caruthers' dining room for their lectures.

Recovering, he went on to become the university's first director of graduate studies, establishing departments of history and social science. After 10 years in Keene, Dr. Caruthers moved to New Haven, where he began a 24-year association with Southern Connecticut State University. There, he was director of graduate studies and became the first chairman of the school's new history department. He retired in 1981 as professor emeritus of history. While in Connecticut, he and his wife were members of the Unitarian Church.

He wrote numerous historical articles for scholarly journals and published two books -- one in maritime history and the other a biography of a 19th-century intellectual, O. B. Frothingham.

After retiring and moving to Annapolis, Dr. Caruthers was able to more fully indulge his passion for sailing. As a young boy in Salisbury, he and several other youths had formed a ragtag boating association called the "Tony Tank Club" around a small skiff on the Wicomico River.

Survivors include a sister, Imogene Caruthers Horton of Mardela Springs; a son, David Wade Caruthers of Monkton; two daughters, Ellen Caruthers Liebenberg of Livermore, Calif., and Mary Jane Caruthers Parmentier of Lakeland, Colo.; and two grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Caruthers Memorial Fund, Salisbury State University Foundation, Room 230, Holloway Hall, Salisbury, Md. 21801; or to Coastal Hospice, P.O. Box 1733, Salisbury, Md. 21802.

Gwynette Caruthers

Teacher, psychologist

A memorial service for Gwynette Thompson Caruthers, a teacher and child psychologist, will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at the Social Room of Salisbury State University. Mrs. Caruthers and her husband, James Wade Caruthers, died Sunday in an automobile accident on U.S. 50 at Mardela Springs. Mrs. Caruthers was 74.

She was born in 1917 in Hurlock, a small town in Dorchester County on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Her parents were storekeepers. After graduating in 1934 from Hurlock High School, she attended Salisbury State University, then known as Salisbury State Teachers College.

She graduated in 1938 with a degree in education. She later earned her master's degree in psychological testing from Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven and did advanced graduate work there.

In 1940 she married Dr. Caruthers, a fellow graduate of Salisbury State, and moved to Cambridge, Md. One of her earliest jobs in a 40-year education career that would include national recognition for work with learning-disabled children was an appointment as the truant officer for Dorchester County schools. She soon became well-known to tardy elements of the school population, even in remote villages such as Elliott Island.

During the 1950s, Mrs. Caruthers taught kindergarten for several years in Keene, N.H., where her husband was on the faculty at Keene State University. In 1962 the family moved to Cheshire, Conn. During the next two decades, Mrs. Caruthers held several positions in the Cheshire school system, retiring in 1981 as director of special programs and school psychologist.

Her programs on several occasions won state and national recognition for their innovations in working with developmental disabilities in young children. They became models for teacher training throughout Connecticut.

Mrs. Caruthers also held an adjunct professorship at Southern Connecticut State University between 1970 and 1981, and lectured at the University of Bridgeport and Central Connecticut State College in New Britain.

Her retirement after 1981 was perhaps even more active and varied than her working years. She and Dr. Caruthers fulfilled a longtime dream by living for a year on their 30-foot ketch, Fresh Breeze. They sailed up and down the East Coast and as far as Bermuda and the Caribbean. They had planned to be sailing this summer, had an injury to Mrs. Caruthers' leg not prevented it.

The couple moved to Annapolis in 1983 to sail the Chesapeake Bay and to be closer to family members. They opened their home there to a wide circle of family, neighbors and sailing acquaintances. At the time of her death, she was spending considerable amounts of time caring for both the 3-year-old daughter of a neighbor and the 99-year-old mother of a deceased friend. She also sent periodic accounts of their travels to entertain occupants of the Salisbury nursing home.

She became active in alumni work for Salisbury State University, and was instrumental in forming a chapter of the alumni association in Annapolis.

In addition to their three children, Mrs. Caruthers is survived by a brother, Dr. Ollie H. Thompson of Salisbury.

Charles R. Baker

Retired supervisor

A Mass of Christian burial for Charles R. Baker, retired supervisor of assessments and taxation in Howard County, will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Augustine's Roman Catholic Church, 5976 Old Washington Road, Elkridge.

Mr. Baker, who was 62 and lived on Rustic Lane in Elkridge, died Saturday of an apparent blood clot on the lung at an emergency medical center in Millville, Del., during a stay at his vacation home in Fenwick Island, Del.

He retired June 30 after serving as supervisor of assessments and taxation since 1980 and working as an appraiser in the office for 22 years before that. Earlier, he had worked as a real estate title abstracter for the Baltimore City law department.

A native of Baltimore who was reared in Irvington, he was a graduate of Mount St. Joseph High School.

As a young man, he was fond of swimming, diving, archery and bow hunting, and more recently was interested in fishing, crabbing and boating in the Ocean City area.

An usher at St. Augustine's Church, he had also been a baseball coach and was active as an adult leader in other Catholic Youth Organization programs there in the 1960s and 1970s. He had also been active as an umpire and coach in the Elkridge Youth Organization in the 1960s.

He is survived by his wife, the former Elizabeth J. Batson; a son, Stephen P. Baker of Ellicott City; a daughter, Elizabeth J. Federline of Ellicott City; a sister, Eileen Somers of Gaithersburg; two brothers, Paul T. Baker of Timonium and Robert K. Baker of Austin, Texas; and two grandchildren.

The family suggested that memorial contributions could be made to the American Heart Association.

Clara R. Lang

Was music teacher

Services for Clara R. Lang, a retired music teacher in the Anne Arundel County school system, will be held at noon today at the Mitchell-Wiedefeld Home, 6500 York Road.

Mrs. Lang, who was 91 and lived at Roland Park Place for the past five years, died there Aug. 28 of heart failure.

She retired in the mid-1950s after about 25 years of teaching.

The former Clara Rieder was a native of Monkton and a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music where she studied voice, the piano and the violin. She received a bachelor's degree in 1945 from the Johns Hopkins University.

She was a member of the Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church for many years.

Her husband, Calvin R. Lang, died in 1973. She is survived by a brother-in-law, Richard H. Lang of Lutherville; and two sisters-in-law, Marie R. Lang of Lutherville and Roberta H. Lang of Towson.

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