Constance Wells Bevins, 92, of Overbrook, a retired business teacher at Haverford High School who served in the Marine Corps during World War II, died Monday at Wallingford Nursing & Rehabilitation Center of a stroke.
Mrs. Bevins was teaching special-needs students at the Elwyn Institute when she defied her parents and joined the Marines.
Her father, stockbroker Charles Wells, and mother, Viola, a homemaker, were appalled. They thought their daughter was crazy, said Alexandra Turner, Mrs. Bevins' cousin. "They wanted her to back out."
But she was steadfast. She followed through and left her childhood home in Overbrook for an adventure in the military.
She trained at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, served in the decoration and medals division in Arlington, Va., and achieved the rank of staff sergeant. In Arlington, she met Navy man Marshall Bevins. They married and moved to California, where Mrs. Bevins served at the Alameda Naval Air Station. In her handwritten biography, Mrs. Bevins wrote: "My pay was $110 every two weeks."
Not long after Mrs. Bevins' three-year stint in the military was up her marriage ended as well. She returned to the area and used the GI Bill to earn master's degrees in secondary education and business education from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mrs. Bevins, a 1934 graduate of Overbrook High School, had earlier earned a bachelor's degree from West Chester University.
In the early 1950s, she joined the faculty at Haverford High School, where she taught typing and stenography in the business education department. She was known for sharing her personal experiences and keeping in touch after students graduated. She was proud of her profession, her country and her age, Turner said.
"She told everybody, 'I'm 92!' " - and loudly, Turner said. It was a habitual tone of voice carried over from the classroom when Mrs. Bevins nearly had to shout and often repeat herself over the din of students tapping on typewriters.
Mrs. Bevins retired in 1978, began traveling in Europe, and played bridge every Tuesday at the Levering Mill House senior program in Bala Cynwyd.
In addition to Turner, Mrs. Bevins is survived by cousin Joan Thorpe and several other cousins.
Friends may call at 12:30 p.m. Monday at Frank C. Videon Funeral Home, 2001 Sproul Rd., Broomall. Services follow at 1:30 p.m. Burial is in Arlington Cemetery in Drexel Hill.
Memorial donations may be sent to the Carter Center, Office of Development, One Copenhill, 453 Freedom Parkway, Atlanta, Ga. 30307.