Sallie Ruth MacCorkell, 84, an English teacher at Philadelphia High School for Girls for 28 years, died of heart failure Dec. 2 at Cathedral Village in Andorra.

Miss MacCorkell graduated from Girls High in 1942. After earning a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania in 1946, she taught at Agnes Irwin, a Main Line private school for girls.

In 1954, she returned to Girls High as an English teacher. While there, she earned a master's degree in English from Penn.

Miss MacCorkell was president of the Girls High Alumnae Association from 1959 to 1964 and edited the alumnae newsletter for 25 years, including for several years after she retired from teaching in 1983.

From 1959 to 1961, she was faculty adviser to Rochelle Hirsh's junior and senior class at Girls High, and they became friends.

"She came to our Passover seder every year and to my two sons' bar mitzvahs and my daughter's bas mitzvah. She was part of our family," Hirsh said.

Miss MacCorkell's passions were Girls High, Penn, and Dickens, Hirsh said.

Miss MacCorkell was a subscriber to the Philadelphia Orchestra for more than 30 years. A dog lover, she was a life member of the Pennsylvania SPCA. She was a summer resident of Sea Isle City, N.J., where she owned a house from 1955 until five years ago.

For more than 50 years she lived in Southwest Philadelphia, where she cared for her widowed mother, who died in 1990. Later she lived in East Falls before moving to Cathedral Village five years ago.

Miss MacCorkell is survived by cousins.

A funeral will begin at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 630 E. Cathedral Rd. Burial will be in Arlington Cemetery, Drexel Hill.

Memorial donations may be made to the Sallie Ruth MacCorkell Scholarship, University of Pennsylvania, Development and Alumni Relations, 3451 Walnut St., Philadelphia 19104.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.