Stephen Joseph Ponzillo III, a retired Baltimore County schools principal and a past grand master of the Masons of Maryland, died of cancer Monday at his Cockeysville home. He was 73.
Born in Baltimore and raised in Dundalk, he was the son of Stephen Joseph Ponzillo Jr., a Baltimore City public works official, who was also an active Mason and past grand master of Masons in Maryland, and his wife, Patricia Rose Harrison.
He was a 1965 graduate of Dundalk Senior High School and earned a bachelor’s degree at what is now Towson University, where he also had a master’s degree. He did additional study at Loyola University Maryland, Morgan State University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland Baltimore County and the University of Maryland, College Park.
He met his future wife, Marie Petts, while on a blind date at a Sokol event at the Eastwind.
He joined the Baltimore County Public Schools system and taught American history at Sparrows Point High School from 1969 to 1977. He was later assistant principal at Dundalk High School.
He was principal of General John Stricker Middle School, Ridgely Middle School, Rosedale Alternative High School and Golden Ring Middle School. He retired in 2004.
He also taught at Towson University in its Graduate School of Education.
He received the 1973 Dundalk Jaycees Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 1995 Maryland Music Educators Association School Administrator of the Year Award and the 1995 Baltimore County Public Schools Recognition Award.
He was active in the Masonic Order throughout his life and rose to become the grand master of the Grand Lodge of Masons of Maryland.
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Mr. Ponzillo was featured in a 2011 Baltimore Sun story when Maryland Masons unlocked the doors of their lodges today for a statewide open house — “in part to dispel some of the mythology that has risen around the group in novels, movies and conspiracy theories.”
He served on the board of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia.
A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at the Grand Lodge of Maryland, 304 International Circle in Cockeysville.
In addition to his wife of 45 years, a retired Dulaney High School math and computer sciences teacher, survivors include two daughters, Marie K. Heath and Holly A. Breault, both of Parkton; his brother, Joseph T. Ponzillo II of Irvine, California; and five grandchildren.