Bernice C. Brown, a retired science department chairwoman at Cherry Hill Junior High School, died of cancer June 5 at her West Baltimore home. She was 87.
Bernice Chester was born in Baltimore and raised in Cambridge. She earned a degree in physical education from what is now Morgan State University in 1944. The previous year, she was elected president of the Alpha Delta chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Because African-Americans were not admitted to graduate study in Maryland at the time, Mrs. Brown traveled weekly to New York University, where she received a master's degree in 1954.
She taught at Booker T. Washington Junior High School and Frederick Douglass High School. Beginning in 1956, she became a science teacher at Cherry Hill Junior High, where she later became science department chairwoman before retiring in 1975.
Family members said she was known for her effective disciplinary techniques.
She remained active in her sorority's Epsilon Omega chapter, and she belonged to the Kappa Silhouettes and the Ladies of Today, a social group. She played cards with several groups, including the Bridge Buddies and the Octavians.
Services were held Thursday at Brown's Memorial Baptist Church.
Survivors include a daughter, Dr. Marsha Jeanette Brown-Mathews of Parkville; two sisters, Agnes Willis and Hazel Spruill, both of Baltimore; and four grandchildren. Her husband of 26 years, Elwood Luke Brown, a city police officer, died in 1973.