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Principal remembered fondly

March 24, 1998|By CLYDE FORD

Principal remembered fondly

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Irma Mosell Patrick, 94, the first black woman to serve as a principal at a Jefferson County public school, died Friday in Cleveland.

Former students and teachers remembered Patrick, an educator for 44 years, as a dedicated professional who expected the best from her students. Patrick was principal of Eagle Avenue Elementary from 1950 to 1966.

"She was very disciplined and loving at the same time," said James Tolbert, president of the Jefferson County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, who was a second-grade student of hers.

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"She was one of those people who when she told you to do something, you did it," Tolbert said. "If you were in her room, you learned to behave yourself and to learn."

Larry Togans, vice president of the Jefferson County Board of Education, said he remembers her fondly from the 1950s when he was a student at Eagle Avenue Elementary.

Togans laughed when asked if he was ever sent to her office. "Now and then," he said. "She expected the best out of everybody at that school."

Betty Roper, 70, a retired teacher at Eagle Avenue Elementary, said Patrick was a firm principal but "as nice and kind as could be."

"She ran the school top-notch," Roper said.

Patrick also was a charter member of the Modern Maids and Matrons, a group of women who met regularly to play the card game pinochle.

Fleming said a group of retired women would meet to play cards.

"It was something to do to entertain ourselves. But we'd also do things like contribute to the fire company and visit nursing homes," said friend Vivian Fleming, 78.

Fleming, a retired high school teacher, said Patrick was a "very positive type of person."

"If she said something was to be done, it was," Fleming said.

Patrick became ill several years ago and moved to Ohio to live with her son, Roper said.

She was a graduate of Storer College in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and received her master's degree in education from West Virginia University.

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