Elizabeth Dempsey Anderson, teacher, Hannah More administrator and homemaker, dies

Elizabeth Anderson, a lifelong Democrat, was active in environmental groups.
Elizabeth Anderson, a lifelong Democrat, was active in environmental groups. (Handout / HANDOUT)

Elizabeth Regina Dempsey “Libby” Anderson, a retired teacher and Hannah More Academy administrator, died of heart failure Sept. 30 at the Broadmead Retirement Community. The former Ruxton resident was 96.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Collington Avenue and on Park Avenue in Towson, she was the daughter of Edwin A. Dempsey and his wife, Mary.


She attended Immaculate Conception School and was a 1939 graduate of Towson Catholic High School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at what is now Notre Dame of Maryland University.

“When she was a child, she was hit by a streetcar and suffered a fractured skull,” said her daughter, Mary Kane Anderson Sholtz. “Her survival was credited to a visiting professor at Hopkins who insisted on giving her a spinal tap, which was believed to have saved her life.”


Her daughter also said Mrs. Anderson talked about the Depression years when she and her friends would work on their Clark Gable scrapbooks and chase the ice delivery man down the street, hoping to get a free chunk.

“Her father did not want his children to know he had lost his job, so he dressed for work every morning," said her daughter. "The children of fathers with jobs were asked to bring an extra sandwich to school to give to a child whose father had no job. My mother would take two sandwiches [to school], never suspecting the difficulty her family was experiencing to keep any food on the table.”

After leaving college, Mrs. Anderson became a teacher at Towson Catholic High School.

“She taught English, and one our favorite family stories involved her punishing her future brother-in-law, Bernie Anderson, the president of his class, for chewing bubble gum, then an egregious offense,” said her daughter.

Mrs. Anderson married J. Lyman Anderson Jr., a Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone executive, on June 7, 1947. The family resided in Wiltondale on Trafalgar Road and on Boyce Avenue in Ruxton.

Mrs. Anderson was a past president of the Baltimore Academy of the Visitation Mothers Club and the Catholic Evidence League.

In 1965, after raising a family, Mrs. Anderson returned to work and sold disposable paper products to physicians. She used her wages to help buy a horse for her daughter.

In 1969 she became the assistant to the headmaster of the Hannah More Academy in Reisterstown. She was later the director of the Newman Club at Towson University.

A lifelong Democrat, Mrs. Anderson was active in environmental groups.

A funeral Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. Friday at the Carmelite Monastery, 1318 Dulaney Valley Road.

In addition to her daughter, survivors include her son, J. Lyman “Jay” Anderson III of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and three grandchildren. Her husband of 69 years died in 2016.

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