Margaret Julia Thomas Bivins, a retired Anne Arundel County public school teacher, died of congestive heart failure Wednesday at Northwest Hospital Center in Randallstown. She was 99 and lived most of her life in Lothian.
Born Margaret Julia Thomas in Lothian, a southern Anne Arundel County community where her family had lived for generations, she was educated at the Zion Academy in her hometown and graduated from Armstrong High School in Washington. Early on, she wanted to be a teacher, and she earned a diploma from Minor Teachers College in Washington.
In the mid-1920s, she moved to Baltimore and lived on Druid Hill Avenue. She enrolled at the old Cortez Peters School of Business.
She met her future husband at Morningstar Baptist Church. "She told my father she was not going to marry him," said daughter Margaret B. Brown of Lochearn. "He told her, 'You are going to be my wife.' They courted two years."
In 1926, she married James R. Bivins, a stationary engineer who later worked at Andrews Air Force Base. They built a home on family property across a field from the house where Mrs. Bivens was born. She maintained that house and lived independently until she was 97 and her eyesight failed.
After raising her six children, she taught in the Anne Arundel County school system for 33 years and spent much of her career at Parole Elementary.
"Education was of high value to her," said her daughter, a retired Baltimore City public schools reading specialist. "She and my father received honors from a group called the Annapolis Friends because they sent all their children to college to obtain bachelor's and master's degrees."
Mrs. Bivens never smoked or drank alcohol. Her daughter said she did indulge in chocolate candy and enjoyed her last box about a month ago.
Mrs. Bivins was a lifelong member of the Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Lothian, where her father, John H. Thomas, was a lay minister and her mother, Mary B. Thomas, was Sunday school superintendent for many years.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the church, 41 Ark Road in Lothian.
In addition to her daughter, survivors include two sons, Leonard E. Bivins of Lanham and Robert P. Bivins of Lothian; another daughter, Betty B. Chase of Randallstown; 11 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandsons. A son, James T. Bivens, died last year. A daughter, Rose Bivins Williams, died in 2005. Her husband died in 1979.