Vera Bell Fry, longtime city educator

Vera Bell Fry, a retired Baltimore City schoolteacher, died Dec. 22 at the University of Maryland Medical Center in downtown Baltimore. No cause of death was reported.

She was 95 and lived most of her life on Madison Avenue in Madison Park.

Born Vera Bell, she was the daughter of Dr. James Bell, a family physician and internist, and Mussette Bell, a schoolteacher.

Family members said that as a child, she and her sisters looked forward to riding with their father on late-night emergency house calls.

“It was exciting and adventurous for them as children, but that early exposure to service and compassion became a family trademark, expressed for nearly half a century in her classrooms,” said her daughter, Erica Fry Cryor of Baltimore.

Mrs. Fry graduated from what was then Coppin Teachers College in 1941 at age 19. Family members said that when she began teaching, her salary was $100 per month.

She retired in 1988 after teaching for many years at Lexington Terrace Elementary School in the Poppleton neighborhood of West Baltimore. She served a total of 47 years in the classroom during her career.

“As she progressed through the Baltimore City public school system, she later became a trainer for new teachers and was recognized as a model educator,” said her daughter. “She absolutely loved the role and responsibilities of being a teacher. She felt it was her calling.

“She was known to customize learning materials for her own grandchildren and preserved them for her great-grandchildren as well,” her daughter said. “She maintained an aura of preciseness and dignity because she felt those attributes were as important to learning as were daily lesson plans.”

Her son-in-law, Michael Cryor, said, “Students of hers … remember her very fondly; some even attribute their appreciation for learning and early skill development to the frequent field trips and hands-on experiences she considered essential to the learning process.

“She had a real devotion to the children of the city, especially those from challenged circumstances,” said Mr. Cryor.

Mrs. Fry became a doting grandmother and great-grandmother, family members said. She enjoyed reading and many years ago rode horseback in Druid Hill Park.

Funeral plans are incomplete.

In addition to her daughter and son-law, survivors include a granddaughter, Maisha Cryor of Washington; and three great-grandsons.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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