Ethel Stewart Cottman, 89, Somerset County educator


Ethel Stewart Cottman, a retired Somerset County educator, died Sunday of complications from Alzheimer's disease at Atria Assisted-Living Center in Salisbury. She was 89.

Born Bertha Mae Ethel Stewart in Concord, Del., she earned degrees in French and English from what is now Delaware State University in Dover. She also studied at Temple University, then-Salisbury State University and the University of Rhode Island. She was a founding member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority's Eastern Shore chapter.

In 1938 she began teaching English, psychology and journalism in Somerset County public schools. Known as Miss Cottie or Ethel S, she was an adviser for student newspapers at Somerset and Washington high schools.

"She was very popular with students. Many of those often became journalists or teachers of English," said her husband of 67 years, Kermit Atlee Cottman, a retired Somerset County supervisor of schools.

In 1962, she was a Wall Street Journal Fellow at the University of Rhode Island.

She also taught a course in methods of teaching English at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne. She retired in 1977.

She was a longtime member of Princess Anne's Metropolitan United Methodist Church, where she was administrative board and Christian education chairwoman. She was a past Worthy Matron of Star Light Chapter of the Eastern Star.

Mrs. Cottman was a member of the Maryland and Somerset County Retired Teachers Associations and the National Education Association. She also belonged to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Family members said she enjoyed reading literature and newspapers.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. today at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Performing Arts Center, Princess Anne.

In addition to her husband, survivors include a son, Kirkwood Cottman of Akron, Ohio; a daughter, Kerlan Cottman Morgan of Baltimore; and eight grandchildren.

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