Rosemary Jenkins Berry, a retired Baltimore County teacher who served for decades at the Warren Elementary School, died of heart failure Dec. 24 at the Blakehurst retirement community in Towson. She was 86 and had lived in Ruxton.
Born Rose Mary Jenkins — she later combined her two first names — born in Baltimore, and raised in Dundalk, she was the daughter of David Jenkins, a bartender, and Julia Hruz, a homemaker. She was a 1954 graduate of Sparrows Point High School and earned her bachelor’s degree in education from what is now Towson University.
In 1958, she married her high school sweetheart, George Wayne Berry.
She joined Baltimore County Public Schools and taught fourth grade for many years. She was assigned to Dundalk Elementary and later served for decades at Warren Elementary School.
She retired in the mid-1990s.
“I remember the room she taught in— it never changed over the years,” her son Paul Allan Berry said. “Her fellow teachers at the school became her extended family. She was a strong believer in schools and thought you could achieve what you wanted with your education.”
“She believed in her students and realized all kids were unique. She recognized their differences and respected them. At the same time, she was strict and knew that self-discipline was a key to a successful life,” her son said.
She and her husband moved to Ruxton more than 50 years ago and lived on Boyce Avenue.
“She was a social person and liked to be around friends and have a glass of wine. I think she went to Graul’s Market Ruxton every day to prepare for and welcome those friends,” her son said.
She and her husband were members of the L’Hirondelle Club of Ruxton for more than 30 years.
She was a member of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd and served on the board of the Pickersgill Retirement Community.
Her son, who lived in Las Vegas for a time and worked in the casino industry, said she enjoyed visits to the city.
“She loved the lights and entertainment and everything Las Vegas stood for — the people watching, the shopping and liveliness,” her son said. “She would say she came to see her grandchildren, and she did, but she also was mesmerized by what the city had to offer.”
Mrs. Berry rarely gambled.
“She was not negative toward gambling but she just did not partake,” he said. “She loved to attend the Cirque du Soleil performances and see some of the big entertainers. She loved Barry Manilow.”
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In 2012, she moved with her husband to Blakehurst, a retirement community.
She and her husband were also enthusiastic world travelers.
Because she was a believer in celebrating Christmas in high style, she shopped and collected ornaments from her travels to decorate her family’s tree.
Mrs. Berry also bought German-made nutcrackers every year as gifts. She shopped at the old Stebbins Anderson store for the imported Steinbach brand she preferred and also was a regular at the half-price ornament sales after Christmas.
“My mother inherently believed in the good qualities of people,” her son said.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Jan. 7 at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd on Carrollton and Boyce avenues in Ruxton.
Survivors include her son, Paul A. Berry of Tampa, Florida; two brothers, David Jenkins of Baltimore and Dennis Jenkins of Beaufort, South Carolina; and two granddaughters. Her husband of 55 years, George Wayne Berry, an Internal Revenue Service agent and review manager, died in 2013.