Dorinda LeMaire Howard, 68, a beloved teacher for 34 years at St. Mark’s Episcopal School, Houston, passed away peacefully Thursday, May 24, at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center after a six-year struggle against multiple myeloma. She was born in New York City on July 14, 1949, to Edward LeMaire and Muriel Gerli LeMaire. She spent her early childhood in Reno, NV, on the shore of Lake Tahoe, but she grew up in Rye, NY. Dorinda attended Rye Country Day School and Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, CT.
She received her bachelor’s degree in 1979 from Lake Forest (IL) College and a master’s degree in English from the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston in 1983.
As a budding poet, she had her work published in Poetry Northwest and served as poetry editor of UH’s literary publication Domestic Crude. She was selected to read her poetry at the Houston Festival in 1981 and again in 1982 when the festival chose her as one of only six poets paid to read at the Atrium Auditorium of the Houston Public Library. She was a finalist for PEN Southwest’s 1984 Discovery Prize.
In 1984 she joined the faculty at St. Mark’s as a 4th grade teacher, inspiring her students to write creatively and to appreciate literature. In 1985 Dorinda was chosen to coordinate the expansion of St. Mark’s to 7th and 8th grade. Her masterful work in doing so became the model for other area schools that also expanded to include a middle school.
For many years, Dorinda’s 8th grade classroom was a proving ground for rising high school students. When they reached that larger stage, her students stood tall among their peers in their ability to write competently and use advanced grammar and vocabulary, they read books they had already studied under Dorinda, and their confidence grew as they quickly realized how well they could express themselves and hold their own.
Dorinda also poured out her love and devotion to her family. Dorinda leaves behind her husband, Craig; her sons, Timothy T. Yates, Jr. and Christopher Yates; her daughter, Wendy Howard; her grandchildren Maxwell, Charles, Jade, Campbell, and Summer; a sister, Diana Devens, and a nephew, Andrew Squibb.
A celebration of Dorinda’s life will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 2, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 3816 Bellaire Blvd., with a reception there following the service. In lieu of flowers, Memorial Donations can be made online to www.stmes.org/dorindahoward, or St. Mark’s Episcopal School | 3816 Bellaire Blvd | Houston, TX 77025.
The family extends its gratitude to her primary care physician, Dawn Stoecker-Simon; her oncologist, Dr. Sheeba Thomas, and the wonderful nurses and staff at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, all of whom have taken such tender care of her medical needs over the years. Her family would also like to extend their heartfelt thanks to the St. Mark’s community for their never-ending love and support.