Elizabeth James taught special education for two decades in Baltimore County public schools in Perry Hall.
Elizabeth James taught special education for two decades in Baltimore County public schools in Perry Hall. (Handout / HANDOUT)

Elizabeth G. James, a retired Baltimore County public schools special education teacher, died Sept. 9 from complications of a stroke at the Edenwald Retirement Community in Towson. She was 97.

The former Elizabeth Ellen Godburn, the daughter Dr. John LeRoy Godburn, a dentist, and his wife, Elizabeth Carson Crouch Godburn, a homemaker, was born in Killingly, Connecticut.

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After her parents were divorced, she and her mother moved to Owings Mills to care for her elderly grandparents, who were farmers. They later moved to a home on Calvert Street.

In 1936 her mother married George Morvin Peters, a General Motors manager and lived in Salisbury and later Baltimore. He died in 1951.

After graduating in 1940 from Western High School, Mrs. James enrolled at Washington College, from which she earned a bachelor’s degree in 1943. She met and fell in love with Charles E. Fetter Jr., a classmate, whom she married in 1943.

Her husband, an Air Force Boeing B-29 Superfortress pilot, was lost in action in 1944 after being shot down in the Pacific Theater.

She returned to Baltimore and and worked in human resources before her marriage in 1949 to Edwin George “Jimmy” James Jr., owner of James Office Supply in Towson. He died in 1991.

Mrs. James, who had lived in Riderwood and later Towson, returned to college and earned a master’s degree in education from what is now Loyola University Maryland. She taught special education students in Baltimore City public schools and then for two decades in Baltimore County public schools in Perry Hall.

From 1983 to 2002, she volunteered at Great Baltimore Medical Center. She was also an active member of the Inner Wheel of Towson and had been president of the Towson Junior Woman’s Club and Dulaney Valley Woman’s Club.

Mrs. James, who moved to Edenwald in 2011, enjoyed spending summers in Ocean City, duckpin bowling, reading and playing bridge.

Plans for a celebration of life service to be held at Edenwald in November are incomplete.

Mrs. James is survived by her son, Edwin “Skip” James of Towson; a daughter, Elizabeth “Chickie” Deegan of Dallas, Texas; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

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