Helen R. Banghart, a retired elementary and special-education teacher whose Howard County classroom was visited by first lady Barbara Bush, died of cancer Jan. 7 at Howard County General Hospital. She was 67.
Helen Rene Ashton was born and raised in Sydney, Australia.
She moved to Key West, Fla., in 1958. She earned a bachelor's degree in education from the former Bowie State College in 1975 and a master's in education from the Johns Hopkins University in 1977.
She began teaching in Howard County public schools in 1973.
In 1991, Mrs. Bush visited Mrs. Banghart's second-grade students at Worthington Elementary School in Ellicott City to launch "Maryland 2000," an education campaign based on President George Bush's "America 2000."
Mrs. Bush, who was joined by Gov. William Donald Schaefer, sat down with the students and read them the children's book Jamaica Tag-Along.
Mrs. Banghart "was chosen by her principal to host the visit, and it was the highlight of her career with Howard County public schools," said her husband of 48 years, Leslie L. Banghart, a retired Prince George's County educator.
The longtime Columbia resident retired in 1996.
Mrs. Banghart enjoyed hiking, camping and sailing the Chesapeake Bay with her husband aboard their cabin cruiser Moongate.
Services were Saturday.
In addition to her husband, survivors include a son, Brett L. Banghart of Columbia; two daughters, Karen L. Wright of Sykesville and Lisa Fraser-Smith of Bermuda; a sister, Beverly Skillings of Silver Spring; and four grandchildren.