Marie Bauer Zimmer, a longtime substitute teacher who spent her later years researching local history and ruling on airport zoning cases, died Wednesday of cardiac arrest at Cherry Lane Nursing Center in Laurel. She was 87.
She was always busy, always organized and always opinionated until Alzheimer's disease set in a few years ago.
Born in Baltimore, Marie Bauer was class president for two consecutive years at the all-girls Eastern High School, where she also argued for the debate team and played field hockey and basketball. She graduated in 1931 at age 16.
"She was one of those women who never had to be emancipated -- she was already there," said one of her sons, Reid A. Zimmer of Elkridge. "She was a Type-A personality."
Her dream was to be a teacher. But she graduated from high school in the early Depression years, when higher education was too costly for most people. For about two years, she attended Goucher College on a scholarship. When that ran out, she attended the school now known as Towson University for about a year -- and was forced to drop out for financial reasons a year before earning her teaching certificate.
Undaunted, Mrs. Zimmer found other ways to educate young people. She worked as a substitute teacher in the 1940s in Pikesville and in the 1960s and 1970s at Elkridge Elementary School. In the late 1950s, she helped start Elkridge Kindercraft, a service for parents before Howard County's public schools offered kindergarten.
"She was a smart woman," said Grace Frederick of Baltimore, a close friend since the late 1930s who had "worshipped her from afar" in high school.
In 1936 or 1937, Mrs. Zimmer married Harry Sanner, who died about a month afterward from pneumonia, which he contracted on their honeymoon. She married Austin A. Zimmer in 1939. They moved several times as he changed jobs, returning to Elkridge in 1961 -- where she remained until moving to Cherry Lane Nursing Center in July.
A founder of the Elkridge Historical Society, she spent years researching notable people and events.
The Kiwanis Club of Elkridge recognized her volunteer history research by naming her its Citizen of the Year for 1982-1983.
Mrs. Zimmer served on the Maryland Board of Airport Zoning Appeals from 1982 to 1990, helping decide whether permits could be issued for buildings in the Baltimore-Washington International Airport's flight zones and hearing complaints from residents about noise from low-flying planes. She understood their frustration: Airplanes constantly fly over Elkridge.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Kaufman's Funeral Home at Meadowridge Memorial Park, 7250 Washington Blvd., Elkridge.
Mrs. Zimmer's husband of 61 years died in December. She is survived by another son, John C. Zimmer of Glen Rock, Pa.; her sister, Katherine Bauer Gill of Baltimore; four grandchildren; and three great-grandsons.