Bernice R. Baier, 92, Was Teacher, Local Activist
Bernice Reed Baier, retired teacher and housewife and a summer resident of Martha's Vineyard since 1939, died Oct. 14 at Greater Baltimore Medical Center of complications from a respiratory infection. She was 92.
Although in failing health, Mrs. Baier spent the summer at her daughter's house in Chilmark, where her son Don was married on Sept. 14 to Marjorie Mann. Shortly after the wedding, Mrs. Baier returned to her home in Cockeysville, Md., but was unable to regain her strength after a series of illnesses.
"My mom really loved the Vineyard beyond any other place on earth, and was just determined to have another summer here," said her son. "The day she was discharged from Martha's Vineyard Hospital, she came to my wedding. She was a very determined lady."
Her high school teacher, Addie Weber of Trenton, N.J., introduced Bernice to the Island in 1928. After Ms. Weber built her house, The Briar Patch, in Chilmark, Bernice, her husband, and children became regular summertime residents. In the 1970s, after Ms. Weber was no longer able to live on the Island, she gave the house to the family.
"She spent some of her happiest hours sitting on the screen porch or out on the deck, watching the goldfinches and chickadees, listening to the surf and the sounds of the island," said her daughter Barbara. "'There's just nowhere like the Vineyard,' Mother always said."
The family plans a memorial service for Mrs. Baier on the Vineyard next summer.
The first person in her family to finish college, Bernice Reed became a public school teacher and instructor of other high school teachers in New Jersey schools during the mid-1930s. In 1937, she met Donald Baier, a graduate student in psychology at Princeton University, and they married after he received his doctorate in 1938.
The marriage produced two children, Don and Barbara, and Mrs. Baier retired from teaching to care for her family, always her first priority. She lived principally in and around New York city and Washington, D.C., during the next two decades, as her husband served in various executive positions for the Department of the Army and in private industry. When Dr. Baier died suddenly of cancer in 1963, Mrs. Baier had already begun a second career as a teacher and community activist, serving as president of the North Tarrytown, N.Y., chapter of the League of Women Voters and local chairman of the Experiment in International Living, an exchange program for foreign students.
She married again in 1967 to G. Clarke Baier, a stockbroker, and for the next 30 years lived in Jenkintown, Pa., where she had many friends and continued to live after Mr. Baier died in 1981. In 1996 she moved to Cockeysville to be closer to her son and daughter.
She is survived by her two children, Donald Baier of Ellicott City, Md., and Barbara Barré of Baltimore, as well as a sister, Abbie Crowley, and a brother, Dick Reed, both of New Bedford, and nieces and nephews.