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Paul H. Trattner

Passed Away: August 28, 2013

(From the Baltimore Sun) Paul H. Trattner, a retired Baltimore public schools art educator and webmaster who was also a noted prestidigitator and popular Santa Claus, died Aug. 28 of heart failure at his Coldspring Newtown home. He was 70. The son of a draftsman and a homemaker, Paul Henry Trattner was born in Baltimore and raised in Highlandtown.

After graduating from Patterson High School in 1961, he earned a bachelor's degree in 1965 from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a master's degree in art education the next year, also from MICA.


Mr. Trattner's teaching career began in 1965 when he taught art at Armistead Gardens and Martin Luther King Jr. elementary schools. He later became a graphic arts designer and webmaster at city schools headquarters, from which he retired in 2002.


In addition to teaching, Mr. Trattner had a parallel career as a magician, psychic reader, palmist, Egyptologist and astrologer who performed both locally and internationally. His interest in mysticism, magic and esoterica led him to collect an extensive library of books and paraphernalia devoted to these subjects. Paul maintained a deep interest in the 19th century, including its Christmas traditions. He also became an expert on the international myths and legends of Christmas that are still celebrated today. "Paul called himself a 'purveyor of wonderment,' and he really was," she said. "He loved to delight audiences, especially children. His lesson to them was to believe in themselves. He used to say to them, 'You are the magic,' and he made them aware that we all have talent and creativity."


Mr. Trattner was also an accomplished musician who enjoyed playing jazz on the alto saxophone and bass clarinet.


He had been an active member of the Coldspring Newtown community, where he served on the neighborhood association's board and had been president for over 15 years.


"He was instrumental in designing and installing a labyrinth in Coldspring Newtown based on an ancient design," his wife said.


Mr. Trattner had also been a board member of the Waldorf School.

In addition to his wife Bernadette, Professor Trattner is survived by a brother, Michael Trattner of Baltimore; a nephew; and four nieces.

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