Happy Birthday, Willie Don!
The untamed William Donald Schaefer—former governor, mayor, and current Comptroller—was born 80 years ago today in Baltimore. (Nov. 2)
Reading is fundamental
The Enoch Pratt Free Library announces the creation of the Eddie and Sylvia Brown African American Collection. The Browns’ gift of $1 million is the largest single endowment since Enoch Pratt gave $833,333 to establish the library in 1882. (Nov. 8)
The shirt off his back
Johns Hopkins University announces that Sidney Kimmel, a founder of Jones Apparel, is donating $150 million to Hopkins hospital for cancer research. In gratitude, the school is renaming its Comprehensive Cancer Center after the clothing magnate. (Nov. 14)
After five months as the heavyweight champion of the world, Hasim Rahman’s reign ends at the right hand of Lennox Lewis, who lost the title to Rahman in April. Not that we’re experts, but Rahman’s observance of Ramadan the day of the fight—which mandates a total abstinence from food and water—probably didn’t help. (Nov. 17)
Two days before what would have been their 25th wedding anniversary, Governor Parris Glendening and his wife Frances are granted a divorce. (Nov. 19)
After threats by several wealthy donors to withdraw their gifts to the University of Maryland if Gov. Glendening is given a $345,000-a-year position as system chancellor, Glendening withdraws his name from consideration. The decision would have been made by the Board of Regents, every one of whom he put, or kept, on the board. (Dec. 5)
Basketball player and Towson University student Tamir Goodman—once anointed “The Jewish Jordan”—files a criminal complaint against his coach, Michael Hunt, whom Goodman accuses of threats and chair-kicking after a game. The complaint is later dropped. (Dec. 8)
The Rivera, wild
Sun media columnist David Folkenflik publishes an article about Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera’s claim to be on “hallowed ground” in Afghanistan, where American soldiers died from friendly fire (Folkenflik revealed that Rivera was many miles from where he claimed to be). Though Rivera called it an “honest mistake,” the resulting anti-Geraldo media barrage puts the former talk-show host on the offensive. “If you want to knife me in the back after all the courage I’ve displayed and serious reporting I’ve done,” Rivera told the Washington Post in December 2001, “I’ve got no patience with this [expletive].” (Dec. 12)
Justice served, 27 years late
After spending 27 years in prison for murder, Michael Austin is released when his 1975 trial is determined to have been riddled with errors. It takes another week before the charges against him are officially dropped by Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia Jessamy. (Dec. 28)
Baltimore’s final murder tally for 2001 is 259, just two below 2000’s total of 261. It is, however, the second year in a row the total is below 300. On New Year’s Eve, police seize 120 guns and arrest 100 people. (Jan. 1)
The University of Maryland football team—ranked seventh in the country—meets the sixth-ranked University of Florida at the Orange Bowl, the Terps’ first Orange Bowl in 46 years. Unfortunately, the Terps are soundly pummeled, 56-23, and finish the year ranked tenth (their highest ranking since 1984). (Jan. 2)
Any dogs in the White House?
While watching the Ravens throttle the Miami Dolphins in an AFC playoff game, President George W. Bush chokes on a pretzel and briefly loses consciousness, tumbling to the floor. He laughingly tells reporters it couldn’t have been for long, because when he opened his eyes, his dogs were still in the same positions. Though, President Bush told an aide, “they were looking at me a little funny.” (Jan. 14)
Third time’s a charm
Gov. Glendening, 59, and his deputy chief of staff, Jennifer Crawford, 35, are secretly wed inside the governor’s mansion. Quick fact: Gov. Glendening’s first marriage was in 1963, four years before Crawford was born. (Jan. 26)
Hi, John. Got a sec?
Curious about some puzzling records they’ve uncovered, executives at Allfirst bank place a phone call to currency trader John Rusnak and ask him a few questions. (Feb. 2)
John, it’s us. Call us back.
Rusnak does not return follow-up calls. (Feb. 3)
John? Where are you, John?
Rusnak does not show up for work. Allfirst informs its parent company, Allied Irish Bank, that Rusnak is suspected of having posted phony trades that cost the bank over $690 million. After the FBI joins the search for Rusnak—who is actually just lying low at home—Rusnak’s attorneys come forward to announce their client is not on the lam and wants to cooperate. (Feb. 4)
Bud Selig Bobblehead Night is still a go
After 72 of 194 respondents to an Internet poll called the idea “way out of line,” the minor league Hagerstown Suns baseball team decides against giving away Osama bin Laden bobblehead dolls (which were to be smashed by the fans). (Feb. 28)
Does the “L” stand for
Towson University admits the final tally on the Guilford mansion bought for new president Dr. Mark L. Perkins will be close to $2 million, including a $79,000 elevator and a $25,000 home-entertainment system. Perkins had previously commissioned a $25,000 gold medallion and a $56,500 weeklong celebration of his installation as president. (Mar. 6)
The law won
Eric Stennett—the 19-year-old acquitted in the killing of Baltimore Police Officer Kevon M. Gavin in April of 2000, when a Ford Bronco occupied by Stennett drove into Officer Gavin’s police cruiser—is arrested on heroin, cocaine, and weapon possession charges. His bail is set at $500,000. In July, he pleads guilty to federal charges and is sentenced to 10 years without parole. (Mar. 9)
That nutty Mother Nature
Gov. Glendening’s press conference to announce a drought emergency is postponed because of rain. (Mar. 18)
In a live broadcast of his 32-years-and-running Maryland Public Television Friday evening program Wall $treet Week, financial guru Louis Rukeyser spends the first 10 minutes vaguely describing an “ambush” by MPT executives, and broadly hinting that this would be his last show. PBS affiliates across the country are dumbfounded. MPT fires him two days later. (Mar. 22)
Thirteen off-duty Baltimore City police officers are hired to provide security for an event billed as “Exotic Basketball.” What the event actually featured was naked women performing sexual acts for money. Vice cops bust up the party and track down their co-workers. One is fired, while the other 12 are suspended without pay for at least 20 days. (Mar. 24)
“The worst thing in America is a cheating bank”
Declares veteran legal eagle William H. “Billy” Murphy Jr. Murphy just won Scott Steele’s civil case against First Union bank, which was found guilty of stealing Steele’s business ideas. The bank is ordered to pay Steele $276 million, one of the largest awards in state history. (Mar. 26)
Like it’s going out of style
The Alex. Brown Foundation gives away more than half its $21 million endowment in a philanthropic free-for-all, with 34 organizations and institutions receiving at least $25,000 each. (Mar. 27)
The Pride of Baltimore
The University of Maryland men’s basketball team, led by Calvert Hall alumnus and Baltimore native Juan Dixon, defeats Indiana, 64-52, to claim its first-ever NCAA title. “To lead a team to a national championship,” says Dixon, the unanimous pick for the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, “I’m speechless.” Some UM students, apparently thinking that they live in Detroit, celebrate by igniting fires and rioting. (Apr. 1)
No, you can’t keep the $25,000 gold medallion
In a six-page letter, Towson U. President Dr. Perkins announces that, facing a hostile board of regents, he will step down as head of the university. Dr. Perkins’s supporters at Towson U. call for his reinstatement. (Apr. 8)
Your Name Here!
Just 16 months after inking a $76.3 million deal to tack PSINet’s name onto Ravens Stadium, the cranes come to remove the defunct Northern Virginia technology company’s logo from the building’s exterior. (Apr. 9)
Revenge is a dish best served on cable
Louis Rukeyser announces that his new show, Louis Rukeyser’s Wall Street, will debut on CNBC on April 19 in the same time slot Wall $treet Week occupies on PBS and MPT. It debuts to a healthy audience, though not one as large as his PBS show. Many PBS affiliates carry a rebroadcast of the CNBC show. (Apr. 9)
After three bitter years, attorney Peter Angelos agrees to receive a reduced fee of $150 million (down from $1 billion) from Maryland for his work on the national tobacco settlement. (Apr. 11)
With winds of 261 miles per hour, the worst tornado in Maryland history—an F5—shreds through Charles County, killing three people and destroying much of La Plata. It passes within two miles of the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant. “It was like thinking you were going to die every second,” a survivor told the Associated Press. Three counties are declared disaster areas. (Apr. 28)
City Solicitor Thurman W. Zollicoffer Jr., the city’s head lawyer, disrupts the arrest of his nephew on drug charges. Zollicoffer apologizes for the disruption, and Mayor O’Malley supports him, calling the incident an “aberration.” (Apr. 31)
Always there to back upthe Mayor
City state’s attorney Pat Jessamy’s office announces that Zollicoffer has been cited for two previous instances of “inappropriate” conduct regarding his nephew and the city’s legal system and officials. (May 2)
Stay of execution
Governor Glendening announces a moratorium on executions pending review of racial bias and capital punishment (nine of the 13 men on death row are African-American). Maryland becomes the second state in the country to halt executions due to racial bias concerns. (May 9)
The College Formerly Known As Western Maryland
Westminster is the site of a news conference introducing the world to McDaniel College, a name chosen to honor Mr. William McDaniel, who was associated with the 135-year-old school for more than six decades as a professor, dean, and guiding light. (May 10)
In the midst of a national crackdown on sexually abusive priests, Dontee Stokes seeks an apology from Reverend Maurice Blackwell for allegedly molesting him as a youth. When Stokes is rebuked, he shoots Rev. Blackwell, then turns himself into authorities and confesses to the crime. (May 13)
The Bride of Frankenfish
Fishing in a Crofton pond, Paul DiMauro lands a peculiar looking specimen. He puts it on the grass next to the pond, snaps a few pictures of the odd, toothy creature, then tosses it back into the water. (May 15)
The freewheelin’ MTA
The Sun reveals that many MTA buses have a problem: their wheels tend to fall off. Sixteen times so far, to be exact. Acting MTA Administrator Virginia White tells the paper that the problem has been fixed. (May 26)
And the check is in the mail
A seventeenth bus loses a wheel while in downtown Baltimore. MTA Administrator White goes on indefinite leave. The MTA insists the problem is really, honestly fixed this time. (June 1)
Will he or won’t he?
In a speech carried live on television and radio across the region, Mayor O’Malley finally announces—after enumerating a panoply of criticisms against his Democratic party’s leadership—that he will not seek his party’s nomination for governor. (June 4)
The trading bell tolls for thee
Former Allfirst trader John Rusnak is indicted in federal court on seven counts of fraud. He faces 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. (June 5)
If a tree falls . . .
After a severe storm blows through Talbot County, Maryland’s oldest state tree (white oak), the Wye Oak—460 years old, almost 100 feet high, with a trunk 31 feet around—is found broken and smashed across Route 662 in Wye Mills. The new oldest white oak is in Harford County, and stands 102 feet high, though it is thinner than the legendary Wye. (June 6)
Wheels of misfortune
Both right wheels fall off of an MTA bus in Catonsville. MTA head Virginia White resigns via a two-sentence e-mail. (June 12)
The Reginald F. Lewis Foundation—named for the late Beatrice LLC head and Baltimore native—agrees to give $5 million to the new Maryland Museum of African-American History and Culture, which will now bear his name. (June 17)
“‘Unbelievable’ is the word for this.”
That’s what NAACP President Kweisi Mfume says about the first ever African-American Heritage festival—which replaced the foundering AFRAM festival. Mfume organized the event, which wrapped up today after drawing some 480,000 visitors to Baltimore and Camden Yards. (June 23)
Life, the universe, and coffee
After two Johns Hopkins astronomers calculate the aggregate hue of the universe is beige (and not turquoise, as they had previously miscalculated), they hold a contest to come up with a name sexier than “beige.” The winner? Cosmic Latte. (June 23)
The FBI arrests Rasmi Al-Shannaq, a native of Jordan, at his Highlandtown home for a visa violation. Authorities claim that Al-Shannaq lived with two of the September 11 hijackers during 2001, though they do not believe he was involved in the terrorists’ plot. (June 24)
2002 NCAA basketball championship MVP Juan Dixon is picked 17th, by the Washington Wizards, in the NBA draft. His teammates Chris Wilcox (8th) and Lonny Baxter (44th) bookend the Baltimore native as draft picks. (June 26)
Joe Gillespie walks into the Department of Natural Resources with a strange-looking 26-inch long fish he caught in the same Crofton pond where Paul DiMauro landed a similar, smaller fish. DNR personnel begin to uneasily suspect the fish is a northern snakehead, native to China’s Yangtze River. As fish go, the northern snakehead is more tiger shark than trout: a ravenous carnivore, it can crawl on land, and live up to three days out of water. And it gets worse: “If it came from this pond, it was not the fish caught in May,” a DNR biologist tells The Sun. (July 1)
Mayor O’Malley shakes up his cabinet by firing two directors: Recreation and Parks head Marvin F. Billups Jr. and Commission on Aging chief Neetu Dhawan-Gray, and hints that more heads will roll if improvements are not seen. (July 3)
That’s it. We’re moving to Nome.
The heat index reaches 105 at BWI, tying a record set there in 1966. It marks the apex of a hellish heat wave that claims the lives of 36 people before it breaks. (July 5)
I love the smell of Quebec in the morning
Area residents awaken to find the air bathed in a strange orange haze, which smells like burning wood—smoke from wildfires in central Quebec is carried on the wind all the way down to the mid-Atlantic. (July 7)
Seven baby fish pulled from the Crofton pond are determined to be northern snakeheads. (July 8)
What color are your handcuffs?
Citing his part in securing the largest crime reduction rate in an American city, Baltimore City officials approve a $100,000 retirement fund increase to keep Police Commissioner Edward Norris in town until at least 2004—and to ward off lucrative offers from other jurisdictions. (July 10)
The DNR reveals the source of the northern snakeheads in Crofton: a local aquarist released them into the pond when they became too large to keep in his tank. As with many of our area’s headaches, the fish originally came from—where else—New York City. (July 11)
They’re going to need a larger mantle
Johns Hopkins is named the nation’s best hospital for a twelfth year in a row by U.S. News & World Report. (July 12)
How could this happen?
Hopkins pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson reveals today that he has prostate cancer, which will be operated on in August by Hopkins physicians. (July 12)
Game, set, and match
Introduced by the great Martina Navratilova, Pam Shriver is inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. before a crowd of nearly 4,000 cheering family, friends, and fans (including her 93-year-old grandmother and Shriver’s husband, one-time-James Bond George Lazenby). (July 13)
Your government at work. Really!
The “Sarbanes Bill”—a hard-hitting piece of corporate reform legislation with actual legal teeth—is passed by a once-reluctant U.S. Senate, spurred by the public’s ire over this year’s business misdealings. Named for its author, Maryland Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, the bill is soon afterward signed into law by President George W. Bush, who says it means “no more easy money for corporate criminals. Just hard time.” (July 14)
Magna Entertainment Corporation, a Canadian racing conglomerate, agrees to acquire 51 percent of the Maryland Jockey Club and its racetracks. Joseph DeFrancis and his sister Karen will retain day to day control of the operation. Magna head Frank Stronach’s plans for Pimlico? Tear it down and start from scratch, and hold the Preakness at Laurel during construction. (July 15)
Finger crossing and prayer do work!
Dr. Ben Carson undergoes successful surgery to remove cancer from his prostate. “It went beautifully, there were no problems, everything looked excellent, and I’m expecting him to be fine,” Hopkins urologist Dr. Patrick C. Walsh told the Washington Post. (Aug. 6)
Lawyers protect fellow carnivores
What should have been a simple task—poisoning the Crofton pond which is home to the rapidly reproducing northern snakehead fish—is delayed while legal red tape between the pond’s owners and the state is worked out. (Aug. 7)
Where there’s smoke, there’s mulch
The skies of Baltimore again fill with smoke—this time from a seven-alarm fire at Sparrows Point, where a mound of wood and mulch burns so strongly that 250 firefighters report to the scene. (Aug. 7)
Oh, that 310-mile long cable
Annapolis Mayor Ellen Moyer and Anne Arundel County delegates are shocked to learn that a California firm has been talking (for over a year) to federal and state officials about installing a 310-mile-long fiber optic cable beneath the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay, connecting Back River to Norfolk, Va. The company says it figured Maryland officials told their local governments about it. (Aug. 8)
Blue (spending) streak
The Sun reports that, in just two years, Police Commissioner Edward Norris spent $178,000 on everything from trips and steaks to guns and computers. While some folks are upset with the shoddy bookkeeping, the money isn’t the taxpayers’ (it came from a private department fund)—so no heads roll. After the usual political umbrage-taking, Norris writes an open letter to the citizens of Baltimore apologizing for letting them down with the spending scandal. (Aug. 14)
The only records we had
at 17 were by the
At the end of the U.S. Summer National Swim Meet in Florida, Rodgers Forge’s Michael Phelps—all of 17 years old—becomes the first American male since 1975 to hold four national swimming records at once. The last to do it? Some guy named Mark Spitz. (Aug. 17)
Political bundle of joy #1
Becoming the first sitting governor to have a child while in office since John Lee Carroll did it in 1879, Gov. Glendening and wife Jennifer Crawford announce the birth of their first child since their wedding seven months earlier: Gabrielle “Bri” Mona Glendening. (Aug. 18)
Not in my Chesapeake Bay
Citing the potential damage a 310-mile-long cable would do to the Chesapeake Bay’s fragile stability, Gov. Glendening makes it clear that the plan is dead. He also notes that he learned of the plan to install the cable at the same time Anne Arundel County officials did—and chastises his own agencies for neglecting to mention it to him. (Aug. 21)
Mathematical elimination fever—catch it!
The Orioles reach the .500 mark, the last time they will see it. (Aug. 23)
MPT announces it is laying off 32 employees and cutting salaries due to budget shortfalls. Compounding their misery are the four national underwriters who withdrew $4 million earmarked for Wall $treet Week when Louis Rukeyser left. (Aug. 23)
Be careful about those
consultants . . .
Democrats publicly decry the $5,000 a month “consulting fee” paid to Republican Michael Steele, Bob Ehrlich’s running mate in the gubernatorial race. (Aug. 26)
After all but popping the champagne (even the Washington Post was busy breaking out the red, white, and blue bunting), the Washington D.C./Baltimore Regional 2012 Coalition is stunned to learn that their cities did not make the cut as a potential site for the 2012 Olympic Games (New York City is the eventual winner). (Aug. 27)
History in flames
The Manor Tavern, which rose from a single 1700s-era building in Baltimore County’s horse country and had expanded into a $3-million-a-year restaurant and catering business, is severely damaged by fire. Longtime patrons gather at the smoldering ruins the next day to mourn the loss. (Aug. 29)
Aren’t you kids on the
Radio ads accusing incumbent Comptroller William Donald Schaefer of using inappropriate terms like “little girl” for women and “Afros” for African-Americans begin airing today, paid for not by Republican challengers but by Gov. Glendening, who is backing his friend (and secretary of state) John Willis in a pretty-much-futile bid against Schaefer in the run for Democratic nominee for comptroller. (Sept. 3)
Die, Frankenfish, die!
At 7 a.m., the first dose of poison is sprayed into the Crofton ponds which house the dreaded northern snakeheads. (Sept. 4)
The carcasses of dead fish are scooped from the waters. DNR staff are amazed to count 566 baby snakeheads and over 100 of their larger siblings (the dead 18-inch snakehead is also found). The final body count will reach more than 800. (Sept. 5)
Return of Frankenfish
A 22-inch long northern snakehead is pulled from the waters of . . . the Inner Harbor! Biologists comfortingly assure us there’s no need to worry or panic, saying the fish was surely dropped in by its reluctant owner. They even return the now-dead fish to the crabber who caught it. “He’s probably showing it to his friends now at the bars,” the crabber’s grandmother told the Washington Post. “He loves fishing and crabbing; he’ll do it all day without eating a thing. He needs to get a job.” (Sept. 6)
Citing the disruption which the attendant media circus could cause, Baltimore County poll judge Omar Pulliam (a registered Democrat) attempts to keep Lt. Gov. Townsend from casting her vote at Ridge Ruxton School. Undaunted, Lt. Gov. Townsend votes anyway. (Sept. 10)
Despite having been officially terminated in July, The Sun reports that former Parks and Recreation chief Marvin Billups is still on the city payroll (at $99,800 a year), and still lives for free in a home on the Clifton Park Golf Course, courtesy of Mayor O’Malley, who apparently wanted to keep Billups close at hand—just not as Parks and Rec head. “I think that there may be somewhere else in city government that might be a better fit for Mr. Billups,” the Mayor told The Sun. (Sept. 10)
Three men of Middle Eastern and African descent are arrested in a Northwest Baltimore apartment. The dwelling contains documents about jihad and photos of important American structures, and a computer contains links to flight-instruction websites. (Sept. 10)
A day of sorrow, once more
A date already burdened with a heavy load must now bear the death of an original American hero. John Constantine Unitas—the Baltimore Colts’ legendary quarterback, and perhaps the greatest ever to play that position—dies suddenly of a heart attack. The one thing that eases the sorrow is the ocean of sympathy and love from the rest of the nation that lead up to his funeral on September 17: It turns out that almost every American has a favorite Johnny U moment.
Who Wants To Be A Convict?
By becoming the 25,000th person in Maryland to be sentenced to wear a “home detention” electronic ankle bracelet, 27-year old convicted drug dealer James Wheatley of West Baltimore wins not only a lovely black box to wear for one month—he also gets a full year of personal counseling, courtesy of those P.R.-minded folks at Department of Corrections! (Sept. 17)
One not to put on the resume
On his first day as a political consultant to Lt. Gov. Townsend’s gubernatorial campaign, Julius Henson calls Republican challenger Bob Ehrlich a “Nazi” who “should be running for office in Germany in 1942.” Henson’s employment is terminated later that same day. (Sept. 19)
We like Mike
Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick completes his 102nd game without an error—a new major league record. And that’s pretty much the end of the highlight reel: The O’s finish 67-95, fourth in the AL East. (Sept. 20)
A letter from William Cardinal Keeler, sent to 180,000 Catholic archdiocese of Baltimore households, details that in the past 70 years, 83 priests (all named in the letter) were accused or convicted of sexually molesting minors. Priests are dismayed that the letter included those accused but not convicted, and gather for an explanation from Cardinal Keeler. (Sept. 25)
When Irish banks are
Announcing that the alleged $691 million defrauded from Allfirst by former trader John Rusnak merely stalled the deal, Allied Irish Bank (AIB) confirms that it will sell Allfirst to M&T Bank Corp. of New York for $3.1 billion. (Sept. 26)
In a wild, rowdy debate at Morgan State University, gubernatorial candidates Lt. Gov. Townsend and Congressman Ehrlich trade quips, barbs, digs, jabs, and a variety of other offensive remarks at one another, some of which are actually about policies.
Ehrlich: “We go places Republican candidates have never gone before, and we’re not afraid to do it.”
Townsend: “Let me tell you: This is not Star Trek. African-Americans are not aliens.” (Sept. 26)
During a Monday Night Football game, Ravens receiver Chris McAlister nonchalantly catches a too-short field goal attempt by the Denver Broncos deep in the Ravens’ end zone . . . then jets 108 yards (later officially reduced to 107 by the No Fun League) for a touchdown—the longest scoring play in NFL history. (Sept. 30)
That’s $20,000 a minute!
With the help of a 90-minute appearance by President Bush, Bob Ehrlich raises $1.8 million for his gubernatorial campaign’s war chest. After Bush departs, Ehrlich addressed the crowd: “That was pretty cool, wasn’t it?” (Oct. 1)
The first bullet, fired this evening, merely went through a window. By the end of the next day, six people are dead, the victims of a frustratingly random long-distance killer armed with a sniper rifle. Though Baltimore Police don’t know it at the time, they question one of the alleged killers (John Allen Muhammad) found inside his car near a Remington gas station six days later. (Oct. 2)
Political bundle of joy #2
Mayor O’Malley and his wife, district Judge Katie O’Malley, announce the birth of their fourth child: John Joseph O’Malley. (Oct. 4)
The right name for the job
Stanley Battle is named as head of Coppin State College. He succeeds Calvin Burnett, who led the school for 32 years. The task that faces him is daunting: A study released last year found that Coppin’s capital funding worked out to $669 per student, while the state average was $16,144 per student. (Oct. 11)
Carnell Dawson Sr., 43. Angela Maria Dawson, 36. LaWanda Ortiz, 14.
Carnell Dawson Jr., 10.
Juan Ortiz, 10. Keith
Dawson, 8. Kevin Dawson, 8
A Preston Street rowhouse burns, taking the lives of a mother and her five children. The husband and father, Carnell Dawson Sr., suffers severe burns after jumping out of a second-story window and dies one week later. The house was hit with Molotov cocktails two weeks earlier, in apparent retaliation for the Dawson family’s stance against drugs in the neighborhood. The suspect is 21-year-old Darrell Brooks, a former clerk for the Baltimore City Council. “As long as Baltimore remembers the Dawsons, we will never surrender to your hate,” avers Mayor O’Malley at the family’s funeral. (Oct. 16)
Number 8 in your programs, number 1 in your hearts
Cal Ripken Jr.’s record breaking 2,131st consecutive game is selected as baseball’s greatest moment of all time, as voted by fans, and he and other top winners are honored before Game 4 of the World Series. Recalling that special game, Ripken said: “The whole night evolved in a way you couldn’t choreograph.” (Oct. 23)
The nightmare ends
At a rest stop in Frederick County, state police arrest John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo—caught sleeping inside their Chevrolet Caprice—as suspects in the sniper killings. The next day, Muhammad is brought to Baltimore’s U.S. District Court to face illegal weapons charges. (Oct. 24)
End of the rogue
The curtain closes on the Allfirst banking scandal as John Rusnak pleads guilty to defrauding the bank out of $691 million. Collateral damage includes the bank's reputation and the jobs of former chairman Frank Bramble, who retired early when the scandal became public in February, and president and CEO Susan Keating, who quit in July. Rusnak is sentenced to 71/2 years in prison with no possibility of parole. (Oct. 24)
Meet the new boss
Maryland hasn’t had a Republican Governor since Spiro Agnew (and perhaps that’s the reason). That all changed tonight, as Bob Ehrlich stuns former “sure thing” Kathleen Kennedy Townsend at the polls, making him our first GOP Governor-elect since 1966 (and Michael Steele our first-ever African-American Lieutenant Governor). (Nov. 5)
If 2003 has these kind of surprises in store for us, we recommend you fasten your seatbelts . . . and watch out for Frankenfish.
A fond farewell to the Baltimoreans who made our city a better place to live.
By Geoff Brown
Just as Seymour Attman fed Baltimore, so did Baltimore feed him, with memories and friends and family. “Attman’s Delicatessen was a place where people from all different walks of life came to eat,” Rabbi Mitchell G. Wohlberg said in his eulogy to Attman, who died in June at age 76. “It was Baltimore’s United Nations.”
Seymour Attman started working in the family business in 1926 at age 16. In 1933, Attman’s Delicatessen moved to East Lombard Street, where it still stands today, having watched the city grow and fall and rise again around it. President Carter stopped in; so did Senator Edward Kennedy. Even Cal Ripken Jr. finally came by, just a month before Attman died.
Attman’s success owed itself to Seymour, a man who knew the best way to do things, as a Sun memorial reported. For years, he used to make his own pickles. Sandwiches were to be cut on a 45-degree angle. Hot dogs, ideally, should be served wrapped in a slice of bologna. Health food, it wasn’t, but going to Attman’s for a bite and, if you were lucky, a few words from Seymour himself, was good for the spirit.
Marc, his surviving son (he also has two daughters), has taken over the deli’s operations. “There’s a legacy there,” he told The Sun. “It’s part of Baltimore.”
Robert M. Baum
Paul Michael Levin
Though it was Paul Levin’s battle with a brain tumor that was most worrisome to the members of O’Malley’s March, it was the blow they didn’t see coming that hurt them first. Bassist Robert Baum, 51, died in March of a sudden stroke, shocking the bandmates. “We were all worried about Paul, and then this happened,” drummer Jamie Wilson told The Sun. “It’s a sucker punch, and it’s devastating.”
Baum, a longtime musician who overcame polio and open-heart surgery and worked as a counselor for a health service, had married in 1999 to Kim Cwalina, whom he met while at a performance. “I was a single parent with kids, and he turned us into a family,” she told the paper.
Then came more sad news: In May, Paul Levin, also 51, succumbed to the tumor that had plagued him for the past several months. Levin was one of the three original members of the 1988 group that would become O’Malley’s March, playing the uilleann pipes for the group. Levin’s day job was director of the UMBC Technology Center and Research Park—but when he got to play the pipe was when Levin really lived. “He was like an older brother I never had,” Mayor O’Malley said to The Sun.
James “Buster” Brown
Buster Brown saved tap. Really. During the 1960s and ’70s, Brown almost single-handedly preserved the art form. His legacy lives on today in Broadway shows like Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk, which pays direct homage to Brown’s influence.
Brown was born in South Baltimore in 1913, and his first dance group, the Three Aces, toured the country during the 1930s. He moved to New York City in the 1940s, and was soon gaining more and more attention as one of tap’s most fleet and adaptive performers. He began touring as a solo act with the orchestra of Baltimore native Cab Calloway and other band leaders, as well as landing recurring stints with Duke Ellington’s band over the next four decades. He was also a member of two of tap’s most legendary troupes: The Copasetics and The Hoofers. Brown even served as a semi-official ambassador of tap, travelling across Africa and Europe to jazz festivals and command performances.
But Brown—who received an honorary doctorate from Oklahoma City University in 2002—was remembered not just for his dancing but for his kindness. “He had no mean words to say about anyone,” tap star Jane Goldberg told the New York Times. “And no one had mean words to say about him. He was a role model.”
Buster Brown died in Manhattan at the age of 88.
If you’ve never heard of the Chen Medium, then you’re probably not an ophthalmologist—or the recipient of a donated cornea.
But for the people who regain their sight thanks to new corneas (over 100,000 transplants are done yearly), the Chen Medium was a major breakthrough, for which he received U.S. patent 4,873,186. Chen perfected a solution with a specific nutrient that allowed corneas to be preserved for up to 10 days, which meant they could be shipped anywhere on the globe for successful transplantation. “His work was a major advance,” said Dr. John D. Gottsch, professor of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Wilmer Eye Institute, in a Sun interview.
Born in Taiwan, Chen came to Hopkins in 1969 for postdoctoral research. He worked primarily on human eye biochemistry, and had recently studied kidney and pancreas transplants. He often worked with his wife of 37 years, the former Sumi Lin (“a happy couple in a happy lab,” said Dr. Gottsch). The Chen Medium was finalized in the 1990s, and he started Chen Laboratories in 1993 in Phoenix, Md. In late April, he suffered severe injuries in an auto accident near his lab. He died in early May at the age of 64.
Though they came to Little Italy in different ways— Anthony “Nino” Cricchio immigrated from Sicily in 1948; Pasquale “Nicky” Chiapparelli was born there—both left an indelible mark on the small community’s gastronomic history (and that of the city’s).
Chiapparelli, who passed away in April at 71, learned how to cook from his father, who came to Baltimore from Naples and opened a bakery in Little Italy in the 1920s. Working his way up from a teenaged dishwasher, “Nicky” eventually developed or mastered a handful of signature dishes at Chiapparelli’s Restaurant, which he opened in 1938: Lobster Pasquale, Ed Perry’s Scampi, and a crab sauce that caused sighs of joy. “He was an inspiration with his strength and drive,” Sam Curreri, the restaurant’s manager, told The Sun. “He was nonstop because he loved this place.”
“Nino” Cricchio came to Baltimore in 1948, first working as a bricklayer. In 1957, he persuaded his brother, Domenico “Mimmo” Cricchio, to join him in the U.S. Nino’s bricklaying experience came in handy in 1969, when the two rebuilt Caesar’s Den by hand after Mimmo bought it (Mimmo eventually sold it to Nino, then opened his own eponymous restaurant nearby). Nino’s energy and savvy made the restaurant into one of the city’s most popular. “Nino was a wonderful man,” Mimmo explained to The Sun. “And because I am the youngest, he was like a second father to me.”
Nino Cricchio died in March at the age of 80.
Alonzo G. Decker Jr.
It didn’t matter that his father had co-founded the company: No, when the Great Depression hit hard in 1931, Alonzo Decker was the first employee to be let go (for propriety’s sake). Rehired in 1933, the rest of his 70-year career at Black and Decker went a bit more smoothly.
Decker’s “eureka” moment came during World War II, when he received a report that female defense workers were appropriating his company’s power drills to work on their houses: Nothing existed at the time for ordinary consumers that could do the job Black and Decker’s drills could. In supplying that previously hidden demand, Decker turned the company into a power tool powerhouse: From 1964 until 1975, when he was CEO, sales rose from $100 million to $650 million. He finally retired from the company in 2000, though he still came in three days a week from his Eastern Shore estate, Money Point Farm.
Decker—who died at the estate in March at age 94—was a notable member of the boards of many local institutions, and gave his wealth generously back to a community that used his tools to build itself better homes. “If you want a model on how to live, try to be an Al Decker,” John S. Toll, president of Washington College, told The Sun.
John A. “Jack” Emich
It’s not if you win or lose, Jack Emich taught people. What matters most is how you play the sport of golf: with equanimity, dignity, grace, and most of all, fun.
“A tower of decency” is how the late Sun scribe John Steadman described John Emich—known across the state of Maryland as “Mr. Golf.” Part ambassador, part cheerleader, and part golf pro, Emich began his lifelong devotion to the sport as a young boy, caddying for his father. He would spend the majority of his 83 years on fairways and greens, landing on the golf committee at the Baltimore Country Club (BCC) in 1949. Though his career as a player was limited to regional success, he worked tirelessly as a volunteer and official for a host of golf organizations. In 2000, he won the USGA’s Joseph C. Dey Award to recognize his nearly 40 years of volunteer service to the association.
His wife of 59 years, Jane, took up golf herself in order to remain familiar with her husband. “I didn’t play much until after we were married,” she told The Sun. “I had to take it up in self-defense, otherwise I’d never see him.” (She won the BCC women’s title 10 times; Jack won it seven.)
He passed away in February in his Roland Park house, which was just across the street from the original site of the BCC.
J. Harold Grady
Mayor Joseph Harold Grady—it was a title that just didn’t fit a man whose equipoise was far better suited to the courts of law he had presided over. So that’s where he returned, resigning as mayor in 1962 after only three years in office.
Born in Williamsport, Pa. in 1917, Judge Grady graduated from Loyola College in 1938, and became Baltimore’s assistant state’s attorney in 1947. His most celebrated case came against G. Edward Grammer, whom he convicted of murdering his wife, despite Grammer’s elaborate attempt to cover up the crime.
But it was as a judge that Grady solidified his reputation as a man committed to the equitable and dignified settlement of disputes and crimes. And it was that personality trait that probably doomed him as mayor, especially in the Baltimore of the early 1960s, when deal-making, back-scratching, and favoritism were the standard ways of doing business. He ended up back on the bench, and retired as chief judge of the Baltimore City Circuit Court in 1984—but continued to practice law until last year. “He was possibly the smartest mayor I ever worked with, yet he was uncomfortable with the job,” says a man who knows a bit about the city’s top elected position: William Donald Schaefer, “and he became the best judge I’ve ever known.”
Judge Grady—a longtime Homeland resident—died in January at age 84 after a fight with cancer.
Dr. Hugh Francis Hicks
“He never met a light bulb he didn’t like.” That’s how Harold Wallace, a specialist in electricity collections for the Smithsonian Institution, explained Dr. Hugh Hicks’s lifelong obsession with incandescent lighting.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Dr. Hicks’s affection for the light bulb began, legend has it, when his mother placed one into his crib. His fascination continued through dental school, and his collection grew to become one of the three most important in the country (and one of the largest, numbering roughly 75,000).
From his dental offices, he ran the Mt. Vernon Museum of Incandescent Lighting, often abandoning patients in the exam chair to welcome visitors (to whom he charged no admission, and often gave cookies). His collection included bulbs probably held by Thomas Edison himself, as well as those from historic places or events since the invention of the incandescent bulb. “Without the light bulb there would be no space travel, no air travel, no television, and no electronic video games,” Dr. Hicks told The Sun in 1999.
Dr. Hicks’s reputation and devotion was not overlooked by the industry, either: For his 75th birthday, Westinghouse built him a 75,000-watt light bulb.
Dr. Hugh Hicks died in May. He was 79.
Ellis Lane Larkins
Though his astounding musical gifts were given troublesome labels at the time (he was referred to as “The Negro Prodigy,” who played with the Baltimore City Colored Orchestra), Ellis Larkins’s virtuosity was such that it could even overcome institutionalized prejudice. Born in west Baltimore in 1923, Larkins studied at the Peabody Conservatory at a time when African-Americans were officially forbidden at the school—it was simply a given that a young man of his talent would receive training there. After graduating from high school, Larkins headed to New York’s Julliard School of Music.
Though his original training was heavily classical, it was as a jazz pianist (and as an accompanist) that Ellis Larkins gained national acclaim. His even temper and self-confidence (plus an 11-key reach on each hand) were perfectly suited to working with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald (their Decca recordings are considered some of jazz’s masterpieces), Billie Holiday, and Joe Williams. The complete list of luminaries with whom he performed includes Eartha Kitt, Harry Belafonte, and Aretha Franklin. He married a fellow Baltimorean, Crystal Brown, in 1971, who survives him.
After moving back to Baltimore in 1988, Larkins gave a few rare performances to enthralled audiences at Peabody and Coppin State. He died of pneumonia in September at the age of 79.
John Walter Lord Jr.
Before Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet captivated audiences with their doomed love affair in Titanic, an earlier generation had been thrilled by a far different (and more accurate) accounting of the S.S. Titanic disaster: A Night to Remember, first published in 1955 by Baltimore native and Gilman School graduate Walter Lord.
The Titanic disaster fascinated Lord from an early age: He sketched the sinking while a student at Gilman, and for his senior speech (in 1935), he gave such a graphic recounting of the ship’s demise that parents called the school to complain that their children were given nightmares.
A Night to Remember became a massive bestseller and spawned several film and television adaptations, and established that history need not be musty and boring. He authored numerous other books (including The Dawn’s Early Light, about the failed British attack on Baltimore during the War of 1812), all of which contained the same exacting level of detail and research.
Though Lord moved to New York City after graduating from Princeton, he continued to follow the Orioles, and was a staunch supporter and active alumnus of Gilman, which named its middle school library for the historian. Walter Lord died May 19, 2002, in his Manhattan apartment at the age of 84.
William Carrington March
In a business filled with sorrow and loss, William March managed to give people hope for a bright future.
Born in North Carolina, March came to Baltimore at age five. He fought in both World War II and the Korean War, and used his G.I. Bill to study mortuary science. As an African-American, he found that breaking into the tightly knit funeral home industry—which was still highly segregated—was difficult, but March would not be discouraged. He eventually started the March Funeral Home, cobbling together the funds. When his business flourished, he remembered his own difficulty in securing a business loan, and co-founded the Harbor Bank of Maryland, the state’s first minority owned commercial bank and now one of the nation’s top performing minority institutions.
Above all, he believed in honoring the dignity of people, no matter their financial situation. Funerals are historically expensive, but March would provide services to match the family’s ability to pay, which for an economically depressed community was often meager. He founded one cemetery and expanded another, opened a second home, and watched as March Funeral Homes became one of America’s largest African-American funeral service companies. A devout Lutheran, March’s behind-the-scenes aid to the community was a wonderful, poorly-kept secret, and he established scholarships for college-bound kids. “There wasn’t a church he didn’t help. There wasn’t a person he didn’t rescue,” Rev. Walter S. Thomas of the New Psalmist Baptist Church told The Sun.
Donald I. “Doc” Minnegan
The man known as “Doc” was such institution at what is now Towson University that he watched the school go through five name changes. Even the stadium named for him is now 20 years old.
Yet through the decades he spent there (all five of them), Donald “Doc” Minnegan—the school’s athletic director emeritus—was a constant force on the athletic fields, teaching young men lessons that proved invaluable even after college. “I spent two-and-a-half years in numerous POW camps [during World War II],” former player Luther Cox (Class of 1940) told the Towson alumni magazine this summer. “I know that [Minnegan] played a major role in my survival in the camps.”
Winning was important to Minnegan, but he believed that sports was also about developing the bodies and minds and spirits of his players. When he arrived at the then-Maryland State Normal School as a part-time teacher, the predominantly female campus had less than 75 male students, but he managed to field a men’s soccer team which, between 1930 and 1936, won 66 of 77 games.
He retired in 1972, but was still a frequent fixture at university events and on its sidelines. “Doc” Minnegan died in August, two weeks shy of his 100th birthday.
The Very Reverend
Constantine M. Monios
Constantine “Costa” Monios was not a typical five-year-old. Growing up in Monessen, Pa., his duties as an altar boy led to dreams of one day being a priest. Decades later, Reverend Monios grew up to become far more than a priest—and not only to Baltimore’s Greek Orthodox community. “He showed you how to be a pastor, not just a priest,” explained Rev. Louis Noplos, of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church.
For nearly 27 years, Rev. Monios led the 1,200 families who worshipped at the Cathedral of the Annunciation on Preston Street and Maryland Avenue. Rev. Monios helped his flock through every aspect of life, often working 12-hour days. He was also a national leader, working with interfaith organizations to foster better relations between churches and their communities. Whether it was a sermon, liturgy, or a eulogy, or even just a comforting word, Rev. Monios’s impact on Baltimore and the nation will be a lasting one. “He was so great at delivering eulogies, you almost wanted to die just so someone could tape it,” said longtime parishioner Lou Panos, 76 to The Sun.
He died in June, at the age of 68.
For being nothing more than a confluence of disembodied voices, talk radio is a very close-knit world. For regular listeners, callers, and hosts, an extended family forms: One of disparate opinions, temperaments, and truths. One of the stalwarts of Baltimore’s talk radio scene this past decade was “Helga from Westminster.” When Helga Nicholls called in, the hosts fastened their seatbelts, and listeners turned up their radios to hear the guaranteed battle begin.
Nicholls lived in Carroll County, and spoke in a voice prevalent to that area: conservative, Republican, and unwaveringly dedicated to her principles (such as the destructiveness of racism and the evil of liberals). AM radio was her medium, mainly WBAL and WCBM, and she was a favorite of hosts because she always came to play. WCBM’s Les Kinsolving called her “a talk-show host’s dream.” Allan Prell, a longtime WBAL host, said that “no one even comes close to having the impact Helga did.”
Shortly after hanging up from speaking with WCBM’s Tom Marr in August, Nicholls was murdered in the house from which she had placed hundreds of calls, killed by a former son-in-law. She was 53.
Walter S. Orlinsky
Baltimore was barely large enough to handle the oversized personality (and body) of Wally Orlinsky—former City Council president, ex-felon (pardoned by President Clinton), tree-planting guru, lemonade salesman, and advocate for the poor.
Baltimore may not have always known what to do with Orlinsky, but he always knew what he wanted to do for Baltimore: Even after a bribery scandal torpedoed his political career, he remained steadfastly loyal to the city and its citizens. In February, Orlinsky, 63, succumbed to cancer—the only thing that could separate him from his beloved hometown.
Obviously, Orlinsky was born in Baltimore—how else could his dedication to the city have been so strong? His mind (and mouth and pen) ran at a speed unmatched by anyone in city politics, even his onetime rival, William Donald Schaefer. Orlinsky’s personality and drive to do more for the city led him to quarrel with Schaefer regularly—and no one holds a grudge like Willie Don. Yet, in 1988, Schaefer appointed Orlinsky head of a state tree-planting program, because he saw that within Orlinsky’s high-octane public performances was the unconditional love of a man for his city and its people. “He was one of the brightest men I have ever known in the history of politics,” Schaefer said. “He had some tough times, but he was a good guy, a good friend.”
John A. Pica Sr.
The story goes like this: presidential candidate John F. Kennedy was riding in a car (guided by Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro III) through Baltimore. As they passed the Fifth Regiment Armory, Kennedy looked at one of the men in the crowd and asked: “Isn’t that John Pica over there?”
John A. Pica Senior—city councilman and devout Italian-American—had friends in places both high and low. Both strata, and everyone in between, thought the world of him. D’Alesandro told The Sun: “He loved life.”
Paradoxically, maybe that’s why, during World War II, Pica’s bravery earned him a Silver Star, Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts (though he liked to claim that “Every time I ran for my life, they gave me another medal”). His medals were among the most awarded to any Marylander during the war, yet Pica never bragged about them. He was raised in Little Italy, and had recently moved back to the small, tight-knit community that had instilled in him a devotion to not just his own neighbors but those beyond its boundaries. Pica explored the city outside of Little Italy, and made friends and connections that lasted a lifetime.
“He did not want to go,” his son, former state Senator John Pica Jr. told The Sun. “He fought to the very end, and he lived life the way he wanted to live it. It’s a gift we should all have.”
Margaret Byrd Rawson
Once, being a “slow” reader or student was an educational death sentence. Margaret Byrd Rawson changed that for children with the neurological disorder dyslexia. She helped kids overcome learning disabilities in one area of the brain by teaching them to use other parts of their minds to compensate.
Born in Rome, Georgia, Rawson and her husband Arthur moved to Foxes Spy, a home outside Frederick, in 1946. From there, she taught at Hood College and worked with two Frederick County health clinics.
But it was her private work with dyslexic children that would be her life’s most rewarding endeavor (and it was a long life: Rawson was 102 when she died). She founded the famous School in Rose Valley (Moylan, Pa.), where she began a breakthrough long-term study of dyslexic students that proved they could beat their disability. She also founded what is now the International Dyslexia Foundation, based in Towson, and the helped launch the Jemicy School, the first school for dyslexics in Baltimore.
Her longevity also allowed her a rare gift: the ability to watch the “slow learning” children she taught grow into doctors, lawyers, and professionals. “I’ve had the unique opportunity to see how lives came out,” she told The Sun the year she turned 100.
Archibald Coleman Rogers
As so many great enterprises have begun, RTKL Associates Inc.—one of the world’s most prominent architectural firms—began in a basement. In this case, the basement belonged to Archibald Rogers’s grandmother, who lived in his hometown of Annapolis.
From that subterranean beginning in 1946, Rogers’s company (he was the “R” in RTKL) grew into a global design leader that not only redesigned a decrepit downtown for Baltimore (producing the Inner Harbor and Charles Center) but cities across the globe (lately including Asia and Shanghai, China, where RTKL has an office).
Beyond overseeing RTKL’s growth and its design achievements, Rogers was concerned with the larger canvas of society. Credited with first using the phrase “urban design,” Rogers was a believer in utilizing existing space wisely. When he headed the Urban Design Concept Team, he rejected highway development plans which would have destroyed the city’s oldest and most storied neighborhoods. As the Greater Baltimore Committee’s first executive director (appointed in 1955 by James Rouse), Rogers worked to formulate and design what became known as the “Baltimore Renaissance,” turning the decaying docks around the Inner Harbor into a tourist destination. “He was a very valuable person, the right man at the right time to get the GBC started,” Walter Sondheim told The Sun.
Rogers, a Bolton Hill resident, died in December 2001, at age 84.
Amalie Getta Rothschild
Amalie Rothschild was born and raised in Baltimore, and graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1934. After her failed venture into normal employment, she became a full-time artist. By the end of the decade, her work was hung in the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. In 1936, she married Randolph Rothschild, and the two built a home in Pikesville. She had her own studio, a separate building equipped with tools to work with any materials from wood to plastics.
Baltimore’s good standing in the arts world owes much to Rothschild, who spent most of the second half of her life working to keep art a vibrant, important—and public—part of the city. She started the Baltimore Outdoor Art Festival, served on numerous art committees and boards of trustees, commissioned the sculpture that lies outside the Maryland Science Center, and founded Gallery One, an artist’s cooperative—all while never neglecting her own talent and work.
Amalie Rothschild, who died of cancer on November 4, 2001, was 85. She passed away at the Pikesville home she and her husband built.
John David Schapiro
He was the man who made America a destination for international thoroughbred racing—turning Laurel Race Course into “the world’s only horse track with a foreign policy,” in the words of legendary Washington Post sports columnist Shirley Povich. And though the halcyon days lasted just three decades for Laurel, the stage was set for the world’s finest horses to journey by air to the U.S. for events such as The Breeder’s Cup.
Schapiro—whose father was a Latvian immigrant and self-made scrap-metal tycoon—was given control of Laurel in 1950, the year his father bought the track. He was all of 35. Schapiro’s big idea was to lure the world’s finest thoroughbreds to America for a race he called the Washington, D.C. International, which began in 1952. As incentive, he secured large purses, and paid for things like chartered jet transportation. The first year was a huge success, and Schapiro’s well-known comportment and charm carried the race into years of prosperity. Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Winston Churchill, and dignitaries from foreign lands (including the Soviet Union) were all visitors to Maryland. “John brought American horse racing into the jet age,” sports writer Joe Kelly told The Sun.
Schapiro—who lived at Tally Ho Farm in Monkton with his second wife, the former Eleanor Tydings—died in January of heart failure. He was 87.
Crystal D. Sheffield
Crystal Sheffield was working in catering when she announced to her family and friends that she was joining the police force. It was no surprise: Her husband had become a lieutenant in the Baltimore City Fire Department; two siblings are Baltimore City Police officers. It was a family that just seemed to know that its city needed them.
Sheffield became a rookie police officer in 1999, at the advanced age of 32. She asked to be transferred from a sedate precinct into “The Wild West,” the high-crime Western District, because she wanted to do more. She soon earned the respect of her colleagues for her thorough, intelligent police work. Yet she always found time for her family, frequently showing up unannounced at her son’s school, and checking over his homework. One late August night, she was responding in her police cruiser to a call for an officer needing assistance. Sheffield’s car and another police car collided, critically injuring Sheffield. She died the next day at age 35. She was the first female city police officer killed while in the line of duty.
Soon after that, strangers reached out to her family to tell them how Sheffield had helped them above and beyond her normal call of duty. When she was laid to rest, more than 1,000 mourners—civilians, police and fire officers—paid tribute to her. Major Antonio Williams, top officer of the Western District, said: “She gave 100 percent of herself to make life better for everyone.”
Thomas Bourne Turner
He wanted to be a country doctor, dispensing medicine and wisdom in a small town to a small population. Instead, Dr. Thomas B. Turner became the dean of Johns Hopkins University’s medical school, overseeing its expansion into one of the nation’s largest.
Born in Prince Frederick, Maryland, in 1902, Dr. Turner graduated from the University of Maryland’s medical school in 1925. He came to Hopkins in 1927, where he would spend almost three-quarters of the next century.
During his wonderfully long career, Dr. Turner worked to fight some diseases which no longer exist (such as polio), and some which still afflict us today (syphilis). He joined Hopkins’s Dean’s Office in 1957, and for the next 11 years, oversaw an expansion of the medical school that tripled the faculty, constructed new buildings, and broadened the scope of the subjects it taught. Dr. Turner was a firm believer that the best way to lead was by example, and every description of him begins with the word “gentleman.” His sense of humor was erudite yet playful (one of his favorite sayings: “Almost all soups can be improved by a dash of sherry”) and defused many a potential argument. His strongest asset was his humanity, which always came first in his pursuit of expanding scientific knowledge.
Dr. Turner died in his Bolton Hill home of more than 60 years in September, at the age of 100.
The hardest thing to accept was that, after all the last-minute heroics he gave us and the physical pain he stoically endured, he was merely mortal. In our minds, the man was indestructible. Johnny Unitas? Dead? No, that can’t be. He was so young! So tough! Are you sure?
But John Constantine Unitas did pass away, at a young 69, the victim of a heart attack while working out in Timonium. His body was wracked by the decades of abuse to which football had subjected it, his right hand useless from injury and arthritis, his knees both replaced. Still, he was the same Johnny U, the living legend who had turned pro football from a sand-lot joke into the nation’s new sport with a single televised performance: the 1958 NFL Championship against the New York Giants. And he was also the regular-Joe “Mr. Unitas” you’d bump into on the sidewalk, who never acted like he was anything more than another Baltimore guy, thank you very much, and how are the kids doing?
When he died, on September 11, the tributes surprised even us with their sincerity and scope. We knew we loved him—but we forgot what he meant to an entire generation of Americans. Every NFL game had a moment of silence, and the airwaves and newspapers were awash with reminiscences and tributes. “You elevated all of us to unreachable levels, whether on the field or in the stands,” said former teammate Raymond Berry at Unitas’s funeral.
And for that, we thank you, John Unitas.