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Don Marani, retired Baltimore County schools reading supervisor, dies

S. Donald “Don” Marani, a retired Baltimore County Public Schools reading supervisor, died of congestive heart failure on Dec. 23 at Stella Maris Hospice. The Parkville resident was 86.

Born Salvatore Donald Marani in Baltimore and known as Don, he was the son of Samuel Salvatore Marani and his wife, Katherine.

He was raised in Hershey, Pa., and on Eden Street in East Baltimore. When he was 13, his parents pooled their resources and bought a farm in Parkville.

He was a 1951 graduate of Mount St. Joseph High School. He then enlisted in the Army and was trained in cryptology, assigned to a post in Alaska and to the Army Security Agency. Family members said he lived in a hotel and was told to dress in civilian clothes.

“He was sworn to secrecy and we were married for 30 years before he mentioned anything to me about this,” said his wife, Patricia Bonica.

He left military service as a sergeant. While in Alaska, he sent his earnings home to his mother. He later built a home on the family property, where he spent the rest of his life.

“It was while he was in the Army that he decided he wanted to teach,” said his wife.

After leaving military service, Dr. Marani obtained an education degree at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he later received a doctorate in reading and human development. He had a master’s degree from Loyola University Maryland.

He taught world history at Parkville Junior High School from 1958 to 1962 and began a reading program at Kenwood High School. He later became a reading specialist at Dundalk Junior High. From 1972 to 1992 he was the reading supervisor for Baltimore County secondary schools and worked from an office in Towson.

“During that time, he gave a young Dundalk puppeteer, Kevin Clash, an opportunity to act in a classroom instructional film,” said his son-in-law, Joseph Pucillo of Parkville. Mr. Clash later became the voice of the Sesame Street muppet Elmo.

Dr. Marani kept chickens, a goat and a cow at his parents’ farm, and later had a large garden at Double Rock Park on Glen Road. He raised tomatoes, eggplant, onions and cucumbers that he distributed to family and friends.

He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus Cardinal Gibbons Council in Fullerton and ran its blood drives and its Monday night bingo games. He also ran a fund that financially assisted Roman Catholic seminarians. He was a volunteer at Our Daily Bread.

Dr. Marani lived most of his life in Parkville and was a member of St. Ursula Roman Catholic Church, where a Mass was offered Jan. 6.

Survivors include his wife of nearly 57 years, a homemaker and community volunteer; a son, Donald Marani Jr. of Baltimore; two daughters, Teresa Pucillo of Parkville and Gina Jacobs of Middletown, Pa.; two sisters, Patricia Lorenz of Sparks and Rita Wood of Bradenton, Fla.; and five grandchildren.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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