Bessie P. Boodman, 82, a pioneer and leader of the American Montessori Society for more than 40 years, died April 30 at her home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Boodman, who grew up in Strawberry Mansion, graduated from the Philadelphia High School for Girls and earned a bachelor's degree from Pennsylvania State University.
During World War II, she worked for the Army Signal Corps in Philadelphia, where she met her husband, Benjamin D. Boodman. They married in 1944.
In 1961, after raising two children in Huntingdon Valley, Boodman opened her first school, Meadowlane Montessori in Jenkintown. Three years later she opened the Wyndmoor Montessori School.
Over the next few years, she added 10 schools in five states, including Georgia, Wisconsin, Delaware and New Jersey.
Boodman started two Montessori Teacher Training Programs, at Arcardia University and Cornell University in New York.
She was president of the Philadelphia Chapter of ORT (Organization for Educational Resources and Technological Training), and was involved in various charitable organizations. She was also invited by the State of Pennsylvania to train day-care workers and students as a part of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Anti-Poverty Program.
Boodman was an officer and board member of Vassar Square Arms in Ventnor, N.J. In Fort Lauderdale, she was as an officer and a board member at Playa Del Sol and served as a board member at L'Hertimage Condominiums.
In addition to her husband, Boodman is survived by daughter Barbra Pimental; son Ronald Boodman; and two grandsons.