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Louise K. Emmert, Baltimore County public schools educator who was active in the Bykota Senior Center in Towson, dies

Louise Emmert.
Louise Emmert. (Handout / HANDOUT)

Louise K. Emmert, a longtime Baltimore County Public Schools educator who became active at the Bykota Senior Center after the death of her husband, died Jan. 4 from pulmonary hypertension at her home in the Breezewick neighborhood of Towson. She was 72.

The former Louise Carolyn Kolakowski, daughter of Joseph Kolakowski, a loftsman who worked for the old Glenn L. Martin Co., Vertol Corp. and the Bendix Corp., and his wife, Helen Opitz Kolakowski, a librarian, was born in Baltimore and lived in the city’s Medfield neighborhood before moving with her family to Rodgers Forge.

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Ms. Emmert was a 1966 graduate of Towson High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in 1970 in elementary education from the University of Maryland, College Park. She began her career in city public schools, first as a General Educational Development reading teacher, that was followed by several years as an elementary school teacher.

While working a summer job at the Belvedere Hotel, she met and fell in love with Lawrence R. Emmert, a co-worker, whom she married in 1972.

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Mr. Emmert continued working in hospitality while his wife earned a master’s degree in education in 1977 from the Johns Hopkins University, where she had been a member of the Hopkins chapter of Pi Lambda Theta, an international honor and professional education association.

Equipped with a reading specialization, she joined the faculty of Overlea High School, and after Baltimore County discontinued its high school reading program, Ms. Emmert returned to her roots in 1995 when she joined the faculty of Warren Elementary School where she taught third graders until retiring in 2000.

She had been an active member of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County.

Following her husband’s death in 1986, Ms. Emmert had taken up ballroom dancing and continued her lessons at the Bykota Senior Center in Towson.

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“Sidelined from the dance floor by an injury, she traded dancing shoes for a brush and started water color painting,” according to a biographical profile submitted by her family. Her artwork received several honorable mentions in the center’s art shows, and she was presented a commendation for her volunteer service at Bykota.

“She was certainly one of those people who would take on projects and get them done and get them done quietly, and she never wanted praise or recognition. She did the follow through,” said Julie Lynn, the center’s director. “When she was on our board, she was involved with Random Acts of Kindness Week in February. She’d get it together, make contacts, and make the whole thing work. She organized the pet side of the Random Acts of Kindness Week celebration. She was so reliable and had a great heart.”

Ms. Lynn said Ms. Emmert continued her work even after stepping down from the Bykota board.

“Louise left the board because she was starting to have health issues, but she still handled responsibilities as if she were still on the board. She handled the food for our art show award gathering,” Ms. Lynn said. “She was always a very helpful person who wanted to go out into the world and make people happy.”

Ms. Emmert also joined the center’s improvisational comedy group where she was an active member.

“I’ve known her about 10 years,” said Leonard C. Proctor, a Bykota member. “We were in dance class together and I was her improv coach. She brought energy, imagination and was very smart. She also had wonderful instincts and stage presence.”

Mr. Proctor described her style of comedy as “very droll and she had a very good sense of humor.”

“She had several go-to characters and was very assertive. This could be a good thing or a bad thing because she could intimidate her partner,” Mr. Proctor said with a laugh. “She was just a funny presence and you couldn’t help but respond to it.”

Erik Freeman, Ms. Emmert’s nephew, said Bykota was a great fit for his aunt.

“The name is an acronym for ‘Be Ye kind to One another.’ She was a very kind person. She loved animals — especially her many senior rescue dogs — and was always the first to volunteer when needed,” Mr. Freeman said. “She could always make people smile.”

She was a longtime active communicant of St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church in Rodgers Forge.

Ms. Emmert donated her body to the Maryland State Anatomy Board, and because of the coronavirus pandemic, plans for a memorial service to be held in the future are incomplete.

In addition to her nephew, she is survived by her sister, Joanne Freeman with whom she had lived since 2001; a brother, Lee Kolakowski of Glen Arm; two other nephews, Frank Kolakowski of Brookeville and Robert Freeman of Manassas, Virginia, and a niece, Leslie Delss of Essex; and seven great-nephews and great-nieces.

Her brother’s name was omitted from the list of survivors when this article was first published. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.

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