Sara Park Scattergood, 1914-2014

By Kristin Sanderson


Sara Park Scattergood, 100, a longtime teacher in the Philadelphia area, died Wednesday, Nov. 12, of causes related to aging at Kendal-Crosslands Community in Kennett Square.

Known to friends as “Sally,” Mrs. Scattergood was a beloved teacher at various institutions, including the Miquon School, Plymouth Meeting Friends School, Springside School, and Germantown Friends School. She also taught in the Philadelphia public schools for a year. Her specialty was teaching nursery school, kindergarten and fourth grade.

“She will be remembered for her delight in her students and the creative joy she brought to her classroom, devising imaginative curricula that integrated science, social studies, music and theater,” her family said in a tribute.

The culmination of her career was to cofound Education Communities for Parenting, a nonprofit whose aim is to teach the importance of nurturing parent-child relationships, critical thinking, and peaceful solutions to conflict.

She got the idea from seeing firsthand the problems facing children and families. Nothing was taught in schools about future parenting. As a result, she helped develop a K-12 child development and parenting curriculum that has been adopted by schools from Alaska to Philadelphia, her family said.

Born and reared in Baltimore, Mrs. Scattergood graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1936. She married Henry Scattergood, who had a long career as headmaster of Germantown Friends.

The couple made their home in the Awbury Arboretum in Germantown and then moved to Kendal-Crosslands, where he died in 1995.

Mrs. Scattergood enjoyed people from all walks of life and had a worldwide circle of friends. In addition to her five children, many other visitors lived in her home for extended periods and were made to feel like part of the family.

Outside the classroom, her interests included gardening, music – she attended the Bach Festival in Bethlehem, Pa., for 75 consecutive years – choral singing, theater, and opera. She was an avid reader and a skilled knitter. She loved spending summers in a rustic cabin on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, a place she had frequented while growing up.

After her husband died, Mrs. Scattergood became the friend and partner of Robert Zearfoss, also a resident of Kendal-Crosslands. During their 15-year relationship, they traveled, made friends, and enjoyed the theater. He died in June 2013 at age 98.

A practicing Quaker, Mrs. Scattergood was concerned about racial inequity and social justice. She organized letter-writing campaigns to influence local and federal government policies.

Surviving are daughters Anne Fogg, Sarah Ashe, Eleanor Lash, and Mary; a son, Thomas; nine grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and a brother.

Donations may be made to Educating Communities for Parenting, 919 Walnut St., 10th Floor, Philadelphia 19107.

by Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer