Vonetta A. W. CooperBaltimore teacherVonetta Ann Weems...

Vonetta A. W. Cooper

Baltimore teacher


Vonetta Ann Weems Cooper, a Baltimore public school teacher, died Saturday of breast cancer at Sinai Hospital. The Arlington resident was 48.

Mrs. Cooper, who had been on the faculty at Glenmount Elementary School since 1987, took medical leave in early March.


She began her teaching career in 1966 at Collington Square Elementary School and later taught at Grove Park Elementary School until leaving in 1973 to raise a family.

She resumed her career at Glenmount Elementary, where she chaired the staff development team, coordinated the student council, was an adviser to the student newspaper, and was a mentor to student-teachers and new teachers.

In 1994, she received a WJZ-TV Salute as an "outstanding teacher . . . and for her involvement and willingness to share her knowledge with her students."

"She spearheaded all of our writing initiatives and worked with students on creative writing projects and poetry. She loved poetry, especially Maya Angelou's 'The Pulse of Morning,' which the students will recite at her funeral," said Vera Newton, Glenmount's principal.

"She was not only an adviser to me but was also a close friend. We shared a lot in common, including breast cancer, so we had a lot to talk about," Mrs. Newton said.

Mrs. Cooper was born in Baltimore, and lived in Germany and Korea while her father served in the Army.

She was a 1964 graduate of Eastern High School. She earned an associate's degree in 1966 at Morristown College in Tennessee and a bachelor's degree at Towson State University in 1987.

She was a member of St. Matthews United Methodist Church.


Services are scheduled for 7 o'clock tonight at Waverly United Methodist Church, 644 E. 33rd St.

Survivors include her husband of 25 years, Manuel W. Cooper Sr.; a son, Manuel W. Cooper Jr.; a daughter, Kimberly Ann Cooper; a brother, Warren B. Weems Jr.; a sister, Wenda Carrie Royster; and her mother, Alease V. Weems, all of Baltimore. Herbert E. Robbins, a security guard and musician, died Friday of heart failure at Harbor Hospital Center. He was 60.

The Brooklyn resident, known as Gene, was employed by Advance Security Inc. Earlier, he had worked for Burns Security and as a house painter.

He was a native of Caryville, Tenn., and a graduate of schools there. He moved to Union Square in Southwest Baltimore in 1957 and to Ninth Street in Brooklyn several years ago.

A guitarist who preferred the music of Hank Williams Sr. and Elvis Presley, Mr. Robbins appeared in area nightclubs and on local radio stations.

He was a member of the Area One Neighborhood Watch Team and New Dawn Baptist Church.


Services were scheduled for today in Caryville. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday at Arbutus Baptist Church, 5709 Oakland Road.

He is survived by his wife of 20 years, the former Elizabeth Day; a son, Herbert E. Robbins Jr. of Hagerstown; a daughter, Vivian L. Robbins of Brooklyn; and two sisters, Juanita Jordan of Brooklyn and Betty Routh of Greenville, N.C.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association, P.O. Box 17025, Baltimore 21203.

Sarah Neale Watson

Hospital volunteer

Sarah Neale Watson, who worked and later volunteered at St. Joseph Medical Center for many years, died Saturday of probable cardiac arrhythmia at Pickersgill in Towson. She was 86.


She had been a resident of the Chestnut Avenue retirement home for about a year. She had also lived on Boyce Avenue in Ruxton for 30 years.

Known as Sally, she began volunteering as cashier in the hospital's gift shop after its relocation to Towson in 1965. By 1989, she had accumulated 10,540 volunteer hours.

"She had a marvelous sense of humor, and I remember her vividly telling me a cute story every morning when she signed in. She kept us entertained and made lots of friends among the staff and visitors. She was an absolute pleasure," said Jan Porter, volunteer coordinator.

During the 1960s and early 1970s, Mrs. Watson was a laboratory technician in the hospital's pathology department. In the 1930s, she held a similar position at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

During World War II, she was a Red Cross driver and knitted scarves for servicemen.

She was born and raised on Park Avenue in the Mount Vernon section of the city and was a 1926 graduate of Western High School. In 1942, she married John Duncan Watson, an accountant in the Baltimore City comptroller's office. He died in 1969.


Mrs. Watson led the daily rosary at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Towson, where she was a longtime communicant.

A Mass of Christian burial was to be offered at 10 a.m. today at the church, Baltimore and Ware avenues.

She is survived by a daughter, Mary Sterett Watson of West Palm Beach, Fla.; a son, Neale Howard Watson of Hampstead; and two grandchildren.