Priscilla L. Beirne, retired Baltimore City educator, dies

Priscilla L. Beirne, a retired Baltimore city public school educator who enjoyed reading, died Wednesday at her North Homeland residence from respiratory failure. She was 89.

The former Priscilla Griswold Long was the daughter of Dr. Perrin H. Long, who was head of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Medical School and a pioneer in the field of wonder drugs, and Elizabeth Griswold Long, a founder of the Baltimore chapter of Planned Parenthood. She was born in Hartford, Conn., and came to Baltimore when she was six weeks old, when her father joined Hopkins.

Raised on Thornhill Road in Homeland, she was a 1947 graduate of Roland Park Country School. She attended Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Mass., for two years. After marrying Patrick H. Walker in 1949, she transferred to Goucher College, and graduated in 1951.

She began her teaching career in 1951 at Roland Park Country School. After her husband enlisted in the Army and deployed to Fort Campbell, Ky., she taught at South Christian High School.

The couple returned to Baltimore in 1955, and she resumed teaching at Fortview Junior High School in East Baltimore.

She left teaching in 1958 to raise her two children, and in 1966 joined the faculty of Northern High School. She taught English there until 1974, and later taught at Harford Day School in Bel Air.

Her marriage ended in divorce and in 1984 she married Daniel Randall Beirne, a University of Baltimore professor of sociology and history who wrote widely on Baltimore history.

Dr. Beirne’s father was Francis Foulke Beirne, a longtime Baltimore Sun and Evening Sun editorial writer. His wife, Rosamond Harding Randall Beirne, was also an author and historian.

After her marriage Mrs. Beirne began teaching English as a second language to mothers at the Johns Hopkins Co-Op Nursery School, and also at Notre Dame University of Maryland and Baltimore County.

She and her husband lived on East Lake Avenue. They enjoyed traveling and had visited Russia, Czechoslovakia, Germany and the British Isles.

He died in 2010.

Mrs. Beirne was an avid tennis player and reader, and for nearly 30 years was a member of the Miss Healy Book Club that takes its name from a former Roland Park Country School headmistress.

She had also been an active member since 1986 of the Xiamen Sister City Committee.

Plans for a memorial service to be held in January are incomplete.

Mrs. Beirne is survived by a son, Patrick H. Walker of Appomattox, Va.; a daughter, Elizabeth G. Cochran of Baltimore; a stepson, Daniel R. Beirne of Reisterstown; two stepdaughters, Mary B. Pearre of Union Bridge and Elizabeth B. Lippitt of Oak Park, Ill.; 10 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

—Frederick N. Rasmussen

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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