Ethel May "Mickey" Gilliss, a retired elementary school teacher, died Sept. 18 of cancer at the Blakehurst retirement community in Towson. She was 88.
The daughter of a businessman and a homemaker, Ethel May "Mickey" Rankin was born in Buffalo, N.Y., and moved with her family to Salisbury in 1939, where she graduated from Wicomico High School in 1942.
She was a 1944 graduate of the old St. Mary's Junior College, now St. Mary's College, and from what is now Salisbury University, where she earned her teaching certificate.
Mrs. Gilliss taught at Chase and Stoneleigh elementary schools from 1950 to 1952, when she left to raise her family. After her children were grown, she returned to teaching in the late 1960s and was a member of the faculty of Northwood-Appold Nursery School until 2004, when she retired.
"She had the uncommon qualities of always putting others first and always, always seeing the good in all people," said Ruth Wheeler, a friend of 70 years who also lives at Blakehurst.
Mrs. Gilliss, a longtime Northwood resident, who had lived at Blakehurst for the past 18 years, had been a member of the community's hospitality and scholarship committees.
She was a world traveler and enjoyed playing bridge and canasta.
Mrs. Gilliss was a former active member of Northwood Appold United Methodist Church and Towson United Methodist Church.
Her husband of 52 years, Rollie D. Gilliss Jr., a retired vice president of Fidelity & Deposit Co. of Maryland, died in 2002.
Mrs. Gilliss was a member of Towson Presbyterian Church, 400 W. Chesapeake Ave., where a memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Surviving are two sons, Edward J. Gilliss Sr. and David D. Gilliss, both of Wiltondale; a daughter, Lynne Gilliss Degen of Abingdon; and seven grandchildren.