George D. Lisby, a longtime Harford County schoolteacher, administrator and school board member who considered students his "nieces and nephews," died Sunday at Harford Memorial Hospital from a heart attack.
Mr. Lisby, 62, had been a member of the county school board since 1987 and was its president from 1991 to 1992. He prided himself on visiting each of the county's 49 public schools at least once a year.
"George was a wonderful, wonderful man who deeply cared about education. It was his vocation, it was his avocation," said Thomas D. Hess, the school board president. "He always wanted to make things better. He always had one more idea."
As a member of the school board, Mr. Lisby fought for opportunities for underprivileged students. School Superintendent Jeffery N. Grotsky said Mr. Lisby was intent on achieving equity among students and was a friend to "all 38,000 of his 'nieces and nephews,' as he called the students in our school system."
"He was a strong supporter of the underdog, the kids that have the greatest needs," Dr. Grotsky said. "His only concern was what to do for kids and how to improve the lives of kids."
The superintendent added that the two men had a special relationship in which Mr. Lisby referred to himself as "the general" and Dr. Grotsky as "the colonel."
A lifelong resident of Aberdeen, Mr. Lisby graduated from the old Havre de Grace Colored High School in 1949 and Bowie State College in 1953. He received a master's degree from North Carolina Central University in 1969 and took additional courses at the Johns Hopkins University.
He began his teaching career as an elementary school instructor in Dorchester County, working there from 1953 to 1956. From 1956 to 1970, he taught at all-black Havre de Grace Consolidated School in Harford County's then-segregated school system.
Alma Dorsey, who worked with Mr. Lisby for 10 years at Havre de Grace Consolidated, said his best assets were his deep affection for youths and his ability to make them feel comfortable in the classroom.
"He just got involved in the school. That's how he taught, too. Very involved," Ms. Dorsey said. "He made the students all feel as though they were somebody."
While working at the school, Mr. Lisby was diligent in his attempts to strengthen reading skills and raised money to promote field trips to broaden the students' worlds.
Mr. Lisby was assistant principal at William Paca Elementary in Abingdon in 1970 and worked at the State Department of Education from 1971 until he retired in 1984.
While a school board member, Mr. Lisby strongly urged parents to get involved in the schools and activities of their children and thought education was a community business, said Mr. Hess, the school board president.
"George invited everyone to come into the school system," Mr. Hess said. "He'd say 'Come on in, we have a place for you. We need your talent, not your money.' "
Services will be held at noon today at Union United Methodist Church, 700 Old Post Road, Aberdeen, where Mr. Lisby was a longtime member.
In addition to his wife, the former Victoria Parsons whom he married in 1964, he is survived by three sons, John Lisby of Baltimore, Ricky Lisby of Greenbelt and Tyrone Lisby of Woodbourne, N.J.; two daughters, Audrey Ames of Edgewood and Renee Lisby of Atlanta; a brother, Otho Lisby of Battle Creek, Mich.; a sister, Cora Fleming of Aberdeen; six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Pub Date: 5/24/97