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Pauline K. "Polly" Wise, ODU associate professor emeritus of educational curriculum and instruction, died together with her husband when their home in Norfolk was destroyed by fire in the early morning hours of Tuesday, Oct. 25.

Wise was 89 and her husband, Dr. Harry S. Wise, former director of the Norfolk Health Department, was 91. Harry Wise had taught at ODU in the 1970s as an adjunct professor of biological sciences.

The couple's two-story brick home on Arden Circle just off Granby Street on the North Branch of the Lafayette River was nearly leveled by flames. The fire was reported by a passer-by about 5 a.m. Fire fighters told news reporters that the cause of the fire had not been determined, but that there was no evidence to suggest it had been deliberately set.

Polly Wise, who received her doctoral degree from the University of Maryland, joined the ODU faculty in 1963, but had a break in service before the end of the decade. She was rehired in 1970 and taught reading and early childhood education until 1982. She served for several years as graduate program director of reading and developed the education school's reading clinic and master's program in reading together with Betty J. Yarborough, eminent scholar emeritus and Colgate Darden Professor Emeritus of Education.

"Everyone is very shocked," said Annabel L. Sacks, ODU director of student services emeritus, who was a colleague of Polly Wise and a friend. She said the victim had been in failing health for about a year and unable to socialize with other emeriti faculty. "Polly and I worked together very closely in the field of reading, and she was my mentor," Sacks said.

Another former colleague, Anne Raymond-Savage, also remembered Polly Wise as a mentor. "When I was a new faculty member in 1971, Polly was a senior member known for her reading instruction, and an excellent mentor," said Raymond-Savage, associate professor emeritus of educational curriculum and instruction and vice provost emeritus for distance learning. "She was extraordinarily professional, a strong and a classy lady. She provided a lot of glue for the department and was well regarded by her students and her peers."

This article was posted on: October 26, 2005

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