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Mary F. Pfrommer, retired special education teacher and political activist, dies

Mary F. Pfrommer was a special education teacher for 35 years.
Mary F. Pfrommer was a special education teacher for 35 years.

Mary F. Pfrommer, a retired special education teacher who was active in local politics, died of cancer Sept. 30 at Gilchrist Center in Towson. The Mays Chapel resident was 83.

The former Mary Wilena Francis, daughter of Theodore Francis, an administrator at Baltimore City Hospitals, now the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, and his wife, Helen Cronin Francis, a Hutzler’s department store worker, was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, and was raised in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, before moving in 1955 to Baltimore with her family, and later settling in Westminster.

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She was a graduate of St. Joseph’s High School in Emmitsburg and earned a bachelor’s degree from Towson University. For 35 years, until retiring in the late 1980s, she was a special education teacher at Holabird Elementary School and the William S. Baer School.

In her first marriage to Henry Amos, who was also an educator, Ms. Pfrommer purchased Jarrett Manor in Jarrettsville, Harford County, an 1842 home that was built by Luther Jarrett. The couple were also antiques dealers.

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After leaving their teaching jobs, they drove cross-country and settled in La Jolla, California, where they lived for a year. After returning to Baltimore, they established Tijuana Tacos on York Road in Belvedere Square, which was one of the first Mexican restaurants in the state, family members said.

After divorcing her husband, she married Christopher Pfrommer III in 1977. He was a former science reporter for The Evening Sun and later became active in politics, serving as campaign manager for the successful 1962 congressional campaign of 2nd District Rep. Clarence D. Long, and later became a member of his staff.

Mr. Pfrommer later served as William Donald Schaefer’s press aide during his first mayoral bid in 1971, and the next year, was campaign manager for Charles B. Anderson Jr., who became the first Harford County executive.

He later became a licensed property and casualty broker for Ramsey, Barry and Bond. He died in 1999.

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For many years, the couple, who were active members of the Mount Royal Democratic Club, lived at 100 W. University Parkway in Tuscany-Canterbury, and in 1982, she was a candidate for the Democratic State Central Committee.

From 1978 to 2009, Ms. Pfrommer, who was known for her holiday cocktail parties, was an officer and entertainment chair for the political club.

Known for her wit, conversational skills and engaging personality, she was also an accomplished cook and host who liked entertaining. Her lacrosse parties were especially notable because her home overlooked the Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood Field, giving partygoers a bird’s-eye view of games.

A voracious reader, Ms. Pfrommer would sometimes be in various stages of five books at a time. Her literary tastes included biographies, autobiographies, military histories and other works of fiction and nonfiction.

As a seasoned European traveler, she preferred sailing aboard the Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth 2 and flying on the Concorde. In recent years, Ms. Pfrommer lived at Brightview Mays Chapel Ridge.

She was a communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, where services were private.

She is survived by her daughter, Mary Ellen Chambers of Bolton Hill; a brother, Patrick Francis of Bolton Hill; three stepdaughters, Melinda Shull, Susan Pfrommer and Karen Dixon, all of Grand Rapids, Michigan; and several nieces and nephews.

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