Margaret Case, the retired athletic director for two girls high schools, died of cancer July 29 at Stella Maris Hospice. The former Timonium resident was 90.
Born Grace Margaret "Peggy" Sherman in Baltimore and raised on Guilford Avenue, she was a 1939 graduate of Notre Dame Preparatory School. Her yearbook described her as "rollicksome, a firm friend, famed for her ready wit and amusing remarks, not overfond of lessons, a natural actress." As a young woman she appeared in "Have Another?" a production of the Paint and Powder Club.
She later attended night school classes at the University of Maryland, College Park and the Johns Hopkins University. She met her husband, Allen Case, a salesman, while vacationing at Ocean City.
She was athletic director at the Catholic High School of Baltimore on Edison Highway in the 1940s and 1950s. She coached numerous teams and was frequently mentioned in The Baltimore Sun's sports pages for her back-to-back undefeated winning basketball seasons. News accounts also noted that she coached the team in the 1952 contest between her then-all-white school and St. Frances Academy, an African-American school.
Retired Bishop William C. Newman spoke at her funeral and recalled Mrs. Case's days as a referee.
"I got a good taste of her tough love back in the mid-1950s at the Eastern High School gym on 33rd Street in the Homestead area," he said. "In the middle of play during a St. Elizabeth's girls basketball game, Case, as we would refer to her in those days, blew her referee whistle, stopped play, pointed to me and yelled, "Father, get out of the gym.' My crime was coaching from the sidelines."
In his remarks at the funeral, he called her "hospitable and loving, competitive and a woman of deep faith, gracious to all she met."
Mrs. Case became athletic director at Notre Dame Preparatory School in 1965. She taught physical education and coached basketball, field hockey, badminton, tennis, volleyball, gymnastics and cheerleading at the school's Hampton Lane campus.
"She could be tough, but she got away with it because she had this intuition about her students," said Anita Williams Feeley, a former Notre Dame Preparatory School student. "She did not play favorites and saw the best in everybody. She knew how to motivate you. She was also warm, friendly and ingratiating."
As part of her duties, she was mistress of ceremonies at the school's annual Gym Meet. She ran the event, which involved marching, singing, aerobics and dance. She also recruited judges.
"For the first few days of the field hockey season, she ran us to death to clear the numbers," said Ann R. Whaley of Ocean View, Del., a Notre Dame Preparatory School graduate. "I think of her on the sidelines, perhaps leaning on a hockey stick and smoking a cigarette. And win or lose, she was always in a great mood."
In 2005, she was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame. "Her humor, wit and comedic sense of timing when she addressed the audiences crowded in the gym on those exciting Friday and Saturday nights is legendary," said a statement printed in a program at that time.
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The Hall of Fame remarks said, "Mrs. Case has said she was 'better at coaching and teaching than playing.' However, after reviewing the many accomplishments that she achieved in the roles of teacher, coach or athlete, it is left to her many classmates and students to decide for themselves where Mrs. Case left her mark more indelibly."
She played golf at the Baltimore Country Club and was a bridge and poker player. She also enjoyed time at a summer home near Rehoboth Beach, Del.
She retired nearly 30 years ago. She moved into the Mercy Ridge Retirement Community several years ago and became a popular raconteur, friends said.
"You laughed the whole time you were with Peggy," said a longtime friend, Marilyn Buedel of Brooklandville. "I know her students adored her because she coached my daughter. She could put you at ease instantly. From the second she walked through the door and I met her, we became friends."
Services were held Aug. 1 at the Notre Dame Preparatory School chapel.
Survivors include a son, Allen "Rusty" Case of Timonium; a daughter, Margaret Gugerty of Westchester, Pa.; and five grandchildren. Her husband of more than 40 years died in 1990.