Myra Goldgeier, retired chair of the history department at Roland Park Country School, died of cancer Oct. 12 at Duke University Hospital. The former Baltimore resident was 80.
Born in Baltimore and raised on Denison Road, she was the daughter of Louis Silberstein, a former assistant Baltimore city solicitor in the administration of Mayor Thomas J. D’Alesandro Jr., and his wife, Bessie Rabinowitz.
She attended Garrison Junior High School and was a 1956 graduate of Forest Park High School. She obtained a history degree at Hood College and later received a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University.
In 1958 she married Sheldon Goldgeier, who was the team physician for the Baltimore Orioles from 1966 to 1993.
“I introduced them,” said her brother, Dr. Charles Silberstein of Baltimore. “He was my medical school classmate.”
In 1973 she joined the history department at Roland Park Country School.
“I think Myra picked up her aspiration to teach from our aunt, Sara Silverton, who taught Latin at Patterson Park High School,” said her brother.
“She inspired hundreds of young women with her passion for world events and critical thinking,” said Kathy Goldgeier, her daughter-in-law, who lives in Rockville.
Her son, James Goldgeier, said his mother had “a competitor’s drive to always be active, to always be learning, to always keep her keen intellect in high gear and to surround herself with all sorts of people.”
Ms. Goldgeier managed and advised the school’s senior class on independent study projects. She also helped students locate contacts in the professional world for internships.
Colleagues said she founded a Current Events Day, an assembly that was expanded to include Boys’ Latin and Gilman schools. She was part of a faculty-student committee whose members chose a theme, lined up guest speakers for the assembly and followed it with discussion groups.
“Myra never sought the limelight,” said Anne Heuisler, a colleague from the school. “She was quietly, steadily influential in furthering education in national and world affairs. She was a wonderful student adviser. She displayed patience and was an aspirational figure to her students. She watched as some went on to get law degrees.”
Shje recalled that Ms. Goldgeier once took an entire class to the polls to watch one of her students, who had just turned 18, vote in an election. She also took her students on trips to the United Nations and the U.S. Capitol.
“She was once giving an Advanced Placement exam and one of her students said she hadn’t eaten anything that morning,” said Ms. Heuisler. “Myra told her to go out and get a bagel and held up the test so she would not work on an empty stomach.”
Ms. Goldgeier also had the job of breaking in new history teachers.
“She had excellent professional standards and she was a mentor to the younger staff,” said Ms. Heuisler.
She was a swimmer, bicyclist, gardener and life-long learner. She arrived at Meadowbrook Pool before daybreak and swam before teaching.
“She did more before 8 a.m. than most people did all day,” said her daughter, Eileen Goldgeier of Providence, R.I. “My mom was the original Iron Woman. She was an exercise fanatic and would track her lap swimming. She would show off her swimming logs, and as she got older she reached her annual goal of 100 miles earlier and earlier as each year passed.”
Her daughter said her mother maintained high standards.
“She was someone who always expected people to try hard and do their best,” her daughter said. “As one of my friends affectionately said of her: ‘There are standards and then there are Myra standards.’ ”
Her family recalled that when Baltimore Orioles great Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game streak, Ms. Goldgeier said, “What’s the big deal? I never missed a day of work in 30 years of teaching.”
“Through her husband, she was an Orioles insider,” said daughter-in-law Kathy Goldgeier. “She knew many of the players and coaches, attended countless games and traveled with the team to Japan in 1984.”
When they retired, she and her husband moved to Easton in 2001.
Ms. Goldgeier was a volunteer gardener at Temple B'nai Israel and coordinated volunteers at the Academy Art Museum in Easton.
She relocated to Durham, N.C., two years ago to be with her family.
Services were held Oct. 14 in Easton.
In addition to her son, daughter and brother, survivors include two grandsons. Her husband of 50 years died in 2008.