Coblentz Memorial Hall, dedicated on October 8, 1965, is named for Margaret Elizabeth Pontius Coblentz ’01, and her son, Edward Pontius Coblentz, in recognition of their dedicated efforts on behalf of the College and of a generous donation made by the family to finance the construction of the building.
Margaret Elizabeth Pontius Coblentz was born on September 7, 1880 in Cochrantown, Butler County, Pa., the daughter of the Reverend John W. Pontius and Mary Apple Pontius, and a first cousin to Joseph Henry Apple, the first president of Hood. Mrs. Coblentz graduated from Hood with a degree in mathematics. A person of boundless energy with many interests, she was an active leader in her church and in various civic and patriotic organizations, including the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Woman’s Club of Catonsville (General Federation of Women’s Clubs), the Baltimore County Public Health Association, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Baltimore Music Club, and the American Association of University Women. She was a charter member of the Baltimore Hood Club.
On April 22, 1903, she was given in marriage by her cousin, Dr. Apple, to Oscar Bechtol Coblentz, the son of Edward F. and Lucinda Bechtol Coblentz, at the Reformed Church in Middletown, Md. Shortly after their marriage the couple moved to Frederick and for a number of years lived close to the campus in a home they built on Rockwell Terrace. Margaret Coblentz died in Baltimore on May 17, 1962, following a long illness.
Margaret’s husband, Oscar, was a brother to Emory Coblentz, for whom Coblentz Hall was named. (See Hood College Magazine, Spring 1990). He too was a dedicated member of the Hood College Board of Trustees, serving from 1941 to 1948. Considered one of the pioneers in a modern public education in Maryland, he was a teacher, the superintendent of schools in Frederick County, a member of the Baltimore County Board of Education, and a member of the State Board of Education. A graduate of St. John’s College and the University of Maryland School of Law, he practiced law, became an engineer, and was a national success in the contracting field.
The couple had five children: Oscar Bechtol Coblentz, Edward Pontius Coblentz, Katharine Reed Coblentz, John Phillip Coblentz, and Joseph Apple Coblentz. Edward, their second son, was born in Middletown, Md. on April 28, 1905. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he was a successful businessman, active in community affairs, and committed to higher education. Upon the death of his father in 1948, he was elected to succeed his father on the Hood College Board of Trustees, serving with distinction on the Buildings and Grounds Committee.
Edward P. Coblentz married Angela Anne Poisal and had one stepdaughter, Kathryn Glastetter.
He was president of McLean Contracting Company, a construction firm in Baltimore that had been founded by his father and that specialized in heavy engineering contracts. The company built its reputation for excellence during World War II by advising the U.S. Army of difficult construction projects. He was a member of Associated General Contractors of America, Inc. the Engineers Club of Baltimore, the Advertising Club of Baltimore, and the American Society of Military Engineers.
On February 20, 1963, at the age of 57, he died in Baltimore of a sudden heart attack. His sister, Katharine Coblentz Crook ’29, succeeded him on the Hood College Board of Trustees.
The Coblentz family holds the unique honor of being the first family (although not the last) to graduate three generations of Hood College students. Margaret’s daughter, Katharine, graduated in 1929, while her granddaughters, Margaret Crook Arnold and Katharine Crook Heidlebach, graduated from Hood in 1952 and 1956 respectively.
Hood College owes a great deal to the generosity, commitment and dedication of the Coblentz families, whose financial contributions made possible the building of a second residence hall bearing the name, Coblentz.