Los Angeles Times (CA) – January 24, 1985
Retired North County Math Teacher Dies at 92
Dorothy Marion Hindle Brass, 92, a former San Dieguito High School mathematics teacher known for her strong individuality and affection for students, died Monday at Oceanview Convalescent Hospital in Encinitas.
She was born in Bradford, England, in 1892. Her mother was headmistress of an Episcopal school, and her father the school organist and choirmaster. Her father suffered from a respiratory ailment, and the family came to San Diego County in 1907 after a doctor recommended a more healthful climate, according to Mrs. Brass’ daughter, Elizabeth Johnson of Pacific Palisades.
Johnson said her mother attended Stanford University and was one of two women in the class of 1913 to receive degrees in mathematics. She said her mother also was active in swimming, tennis and field hockey.
She said that after college her mother began a 38-year teaching career that included assignments in Del Mar, Barstow and Oceanside. She was head of the San Dieguito High School math department when she retired in 1952.
In 1919, she married Charles George Brass, a building contractor who played the violin. He died in 1963. Johnson said her parents fell in love while her mother was taking music lessons from her father.
Johnson said her mother was an individualist who always stressed the importance of education.
“She loved to challenge the brilliant students by having them create difficult calculus problems,” Johnson said. “Some of the problems were so difficult that mother said she couldn’t figure them out.”
Mrs. Brass would tell administrators at San Dieguito High School that the bad students were “so bright they’re bored,” Johnson addded. “She liked the good (students) and the bad.”
When school officials complained that Mrs. Brass would not follow the rules, she would reply, ” ‘I’m a law unto myself,’ and would do what she wanted,” Johnson said. Mrs. Brass would threaten to take her daughter out of San Dieguito High School if the administration continued to complain about her teaching style, Johnson recalled.
Mrs. Brass always was tardy for class, Johnson said, which was another reason why students liked her.
“Everybody tried to get her first-period class because they knew they wouldn’t be there that long,” Johnson said. “She was very adventurous, independent and had tremendous drive and stamina.”
Her son, Dr. Charles F. Brass, who practices medicine in Solana Beach, said of his mother: “Her whole life was devoted to her children. She insisted we do the better things in life like music lessons and church.”
Brass recalls receiving a B in his mother’s math class while one of his friends received an A. When he asked her why, she said: “Well, you’re not working to your capacity.”
“She would not pass anybody to get them out of her class,” he said. If students were having problems with math, Brass said, his mother would tutor them for free.
Mrs. Brass served in many local organizations and was president of the California Business and Professional Women’s Club and state secretary of the California Scholarship Federation.
She is also survived by another son, James Edward Brass, a building contractor in Encinitas; nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
The family will hold a memorial service at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Del Mar.
Copyright (c) 1985 The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times