Carol A. Nordberg, a longtime Baltimore County Public Schools educator and chair of the athletic department at Perry Hall Middle School, died of metastatic cancer Aug. 21 at Gilchrist Center Towson. The Mercy Ridge Senior Living Community resident was 88.
“She was my teacher during her first year of teaching at what was then called the North Point Annex or North Point Junior High School. This would have been 1957, and she was so nice to us in class,” Melba E. Williams said.
“I’ve known her for more than 60 years, and I became a teacher because of Carol. You never met a more compassionate, kinder, empathetic person than her,” she said. “She was always encouraging me and I never heard a negative word from her. She made a remarkable difference on her students and many teachers that taught with her.”
She said that Mrs. Nordberg always had a willing ear.
“I could go and talk to Carol about any problem I was having and she would advise me,” Ms. Williams said. “She was a person who led by example.”
Carol Adams, daughter of Wilsie Adams, a Baltimore police officer, and Helen Sullivan Adams, a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised in Dundalk, where she graduated from Dundalk High School.
After graduating from high school, she earned her bachelor’s degree in 1957 from the University of Maryland, where she was an outstanding field hockey player.
Mrs. Nordberg began teaching at North Point Junior High School in 1957, where she met and fell in love with fellow teacher Edward P. Nordberg, whom she married the next year.
She then took several years off to care for the couple’s three sons, before joining the faculty of Woodbourne Junior High School in 1970, where she continued teaching until 1975.
A physical education instructor in 1975, she returned to BCPS when she began teaching at what is now Middle River Middle School.
In 1978, she moved to Perry Hall Middle School as a physical education instructor, eventually being named chair of its athletic department.
“I was chair of the department when Carol came to Perry Hall as a phys ed teacher, and when I retired from teaching, she took my place,” Claudenia C. Burgemeister said.
“I had first met Carol when I started teaching in 1951 at Dundalk High School. I was 21 and she was just a few years younger,” Mrs. Burgemeister recalled. “She was one of my very, nice, nice students and she played on the various teams that I coached.”
Ms. Williams was on the faculty at Dulaney High School for 31 years, where she coached field hockey, lacrosse, basketball and volleyball, before retiring in 1996.
“Carol was enthusiastic about whatever she did and she brought plenty of energy to it,” she said.
“She was my recreation basketball coach and a playground leader for Baltimore County summer programs in my area,” Ms. Williams said. “I even got to teach Neal and Geoff, two of her sons.”
“Mom didn’t coach any sports at Perry Hall because she wanted to be at home in the afternoons and evenings with her family,” a son, Geoffrey G. Nordberg of Glen Arm, said. “But, she put a lot of lacrosse sticks in girls’ hands at Perry Hall and then followed their careers.”
The former longtime resident of Phoenix, Baltimore County, moved to Mercy Ridge in Timonium in 2021.
“She said I’m moving to Mercy Ridge and she became my next door neighbor,” Mrs. Burgemeister said. “It was unbelievable after all these years she was going to be my neighbor, and we sure had some good times after she and her husband moved here.”
“She didn’t have an easy life and went through the thick and thin,” Ms. Williams said. “She had breast cancer twice, beat it, and it came back 49 years later and took her life. She also had lost a young son who was in college.”
Her son, Geoffrey, in his eulogy, said, “49 years cancer free. She was playing with house money.”
Even though Mrs. Nordberg retired from teaching in 1997, she remained a consummate fan of the Terps, Washington College and Hopkins lacrosse.
She had been a Baltimore Colts fan and was a supporter of the Orioles and Ravens.
“She was passionate about her favorite sports teams, and the only time I really saw her upset was when the televised women’s college lacrosse was relegated to ESPN 3, which she did not get,” her son, Edward P. Nordberg Jr., of Potomac, said in her eulogy.
Mrs. Nordberg enjoyed all forms of dancing, from tap to line.
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“I wasn’t a fan of the electric slide, but my mom was,” her son said in the eulogy. “Life’s simple pleasures brought her the most joy.”
As her son, Geoffrey, prayed over his mother in her final days, he said he’d see her in heaven one day.
“She said, ‘Not if you don’t clean up your language, you’re not,’” he said with a laugh.
“I love you Mom, and if I can clean up my language, I’ll see you in heaven,” he said in his eulogy.
Her husband, who retired in 1987 from Kenwood Senior High School where he had been a guidance counselor, died in 2019.
She was a communicant of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Hydes where a Mass of Christian burial was offered Sept. 1.
In addition to her sons, Mrs. Nordberg is survived by two grandchildren. Her son, Neil P. Nordberg, who was a junior at what is now Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, died in 1984.