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Vella R. Potash, attorney and teacher, dies

Vella R. Potash, a retired attorney who had been a schoolteacher and public relations director, died Saturday from a heart attack at Sinai Hospital. The Northwest Baltimore resident was 81.

The former Vella Michelle Rosenthal was born in Baltimore and raised in Forest Park. She was the daughter of Joseph Rosenthal, a criminal lawyer, and Rona Rosenthal, a homemaker.

Ms. Potash attended Forest Park High School and graduated in 1954 from The Park School. She received a bachelor’s degree in 1958 in education and child development from Goucher College.

While in college, she married Michael Potash, who became a psychiatrist. And while her husband completed his medical training in the early 1960s, she taught elementary school students for three years in Baltimore public schools.

She later worked as public relations director for two years for the Citizens Planning and Housing Association Inc.

In 1970, Ms. Potash entered the University of Baltimore Law School. She graduated in 1974. She was a public defender in Baltimore from 1974 to 1978.

After moving to Florida, she worked in Broward County’s Family Law Section, in the area of advocating for minors, from 1987 to 2002.

While living in Pompano Beach, Fla., Ms. Potash served on the board of the Broward County Family Mediation Association and lectured on changes in the American family. She also coordinated and hosted a lecture series at the Women’s Center in Broward County and was a member of the board of the National Organization of Women in South Florida.

Ms. Potash returned to Baltimore in 2013. A lifelong Democrat, she enjoyed following politics. She also liked to read and play golf.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Sol Levinson & Bros. 8900 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville.

She is survived by two sons, Dr. James Potash of Roland Park and John Potash of Catonsville; and two grandchildren. Her marriage ended in divorce.

— Frederick N. Rasmussen

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