Albert F. Seymour, a retired Harford County Public Schools educator and administrator whose career spanned nearly four decades, died of pneumonia Tuesday at his Bel Air home. He was 85.
“My association with Mr. Seymour goes back many, many years when he was an assistant principal at Bel Air High School during my early days teaching,” said William B. “Bill” Seccurro, who retired as supervisor of vocational and technical education for Harford County Public Schools.
“He was a very friendly man who always greeted you with a smile and a handshake. He was well-liked, very personable and very easy to work with and I never heard him say a cross word about anybody,” Mr. Seccurro said.
Albert Freeman Seymour, the son of Louise Barnes Seymour, a teacher, was born and raised in Royal Oak in Talbot County on the Eastern Shore, the second of four children.
“He spent his early years milking cows, gathering fresh eggs and harvesting corn, soybeans and wheat on the family dairy and cash crop farm,” according to a biographical profile written by Amy Mank-Seymour, his daughter-in-law, of Westborough, Massachusetts.
His mother, who taught school for 35 years, was an inspiration for him to pursue a career in public education.
After graduating in 1954 from St. Michael’s High School, Mr. Seymour earned a dual bachelor’s degree in 1959 in English and history from Salisbury State Teachers College, now Salisbury University. He also obtained a master’s degree in literature, writing his thesis on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, “The Scarlet Letter.”
He immediately began his career in education teaching English at Aberdeen High School, and from 1965 to 1970, was a guidance counselor.
While teaching at Aberdeen High School, he met and fell in love with the former Anne Vickery, a fellow teacher who taught music. They married in 1965.
Mr. Seymour was appointed assistant principal at Bel Air High School in 1972 and was supervisor of secondary schools in Edgewood and North Harford. In 1979, he moved to Harford’s central office in Bel Air when he was appointed supervisor of personnel, a position he retained for two years when he became executive director of information and publications.
“Mr. Seymour was a detail man. Everything had to be organized and lined up. He wanted everything to be perfect,” said Mr. Seccurro, who later was president and CEO of the Harford County Chamber of Commerce for a decade.
Mr. Seymour put in long days.
“A slender, mild-mannered man, Seymour arrives at the red brick Board of Education building in Bel Air every morning shortly after 6. He comes in weekends to work,” according to a 1990 Baltimore Sun article. “He reads books about educational excellence in his spare time. He hauls school reports to Ocean City on summer vacations with his family, staying indoors to read.”
“On vacations I have time to put together big reports for the school system, and I find that as relaxing as anything else,” Mr. Seymour told the newspaper. “Work is work, but it’s also a hobby. It’s just the way I operate.”
Mr. Seymour was recalled for his sense of calm.
“Seymour rarely looks anything but perfectly calm. Every detail’s in place, from his flawless manners (he hurries to hold coats and open doors) to his neutral blue suit and paisley tie. He’s a simple person, serious, Seymour says. He enjoys gardening. He’s a lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church. He always orders the same dinner in restaurants — a New York strip, baked potato and salad.”
From 1993 until 1997, when he retired, Mr. Seymour had been deputy superintendent of Harford County Public Schools.
“I never had a job in the school system that I didn’t enjoy,” Mr. Seymour explained in The Sun article. “Each position I enjoyed so much. I’d think, ‘This is the epitome.’ There’s absolutely nothing I don’t like about my job. I enjoy talking about the schools because I believe strongly in them. I’m very proud of them. Very much so.”
The Morning Sun
“If you’re going to do well, you must have total commitment to what you’re going to do,” Mr. Seymour told The Sun.
In 2001, Mr. Seymour was inducted into the Harford County Public School Educator Hall of Fame.
“Mr. Seymour’s dedication to Harford County Public Schools was a labor of love,” wrote his daughter-in-law. “While he found joy in every task he was assigned, it was his humility and desire to make others shine that truly characterized his brilliant career.”
“He was a gentleman, modest and respectful, with an unflagging work ethic,” wrote Ms. Mank-Seymour. “Above all, he was an eternal optimist who chose to see the best in everyone and every situation no matter how difficult or challenging. Even in his later years with his failing health, he was always ‘wonderful,’ and he’ll be greatly missed.”
Mr. Seymour was an avid vegetable and flower gardener. He was also a world traveler and enjoyed spending time with his family and grandchildren, family members said.
He had been an active member for 52 years of the First Presbyterian Church, 224 North Main St., Bel Air, where funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
In addition to his wife and Ms. Mank-Seymour, Mr. Seymour is survived by his two sons, Robert Y. Seymour of Bel Air and Albert B. Seymour of Westborough; a daughter, Katherine A. Johnson of Richmond, Virginia; and five grandchildren.