Judy Agnew, 91. Met her future husband, Spiro——later, Baltimore County executive, Maryland governor, and vice president of the U.S.——while working locally as an $11-per-week insurance company clerk. She maintained a decidedly below-the-radar public persona, focusing instead on her family.
Gregory Barnhill, 59. Successful Brown Advisory investment banker invested equally in the community, devoting his time and energy——as a fundraiser, board member, and event organizer——to countless charitable causes; he also was instrumental in persuading the Volvo Ocean Race to include Baltimore as a leg on its yachting tour.
Rev. Marion Bascom, 87.
Whether preaching from the pulpit, demonstrating in the streets, or cajoling Baltimore’s political elite, the Rev. Marion Bascom tirelessly advocated on behalf of the disenfranchised.
In a lifetime devoted to the cause of social justice, Bascom led the landmark 1963 nonviolent protest at Woodlawn’s whites-only Gwynn Oak Amusement Park. The same year, he marched outside Northeast Baltimore’s Northwood Theater, which similarly barred blacks. In 1968, in the wake of intense rioting in the city after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Bascom, along with other local civil-rights leaders, abruptly left a meeting with then-Gov. Spiro Agnew based on the latter’s perceived insensitive comments.
When Bascom died this past May, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake characterized him in a statement as “one of Baltimore’s great civil-rights leaders . . . who helped shape the religious and political infrastructure we all benefit from today. His faith inspired a commitment to the fight for equality and human rights for all Americans.”
Born in Pensacola, FL, Bascom became the pastor at Bolton Hill’s Douglas Memorial Community Church in 1949, a position he held until his 1995 retirement. Additionally, he served as the city’s first African-American fire commissioner, helped found Associated Black Charities, and assisted his church’s nearby development of housing for the poor.
“He was a man of intellect, grace, and courage,” WYPR senior news analyst C. Fraser Smith noted. “He was a man whose presence gave people confidence when they sang ‘We Shall Overcome.’”
Wesley Brown, 85. Stoically survived intense hazing and racial harassment from many white midshipmen to become the U.S. Naval Academy’s first black graduate in 1949. Went on to serve as a civil engineer for the Navy during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, eventually retiring as a lieutenant commander.
Joseph Patrick Byrne, 81. Established J Patrick’s Irish Pub in Locust Point in 1987 after retiring as a financial consultant. A locus for the area’s Irish-American community and the go-to place for out-of-state Irish visitors, the pub booked authentic local and regional Irish music acts.
William Polk Carey, 81. Baltimore native became New York City-based investment management giant. His philanthropy to local educational institutions includes $30 million to the University of Maryland Law School, $50 million to establish The Johns Hopkins University’s Carey School of Business, and $10 million to Gilman School.
Joyce Carol Chaney, 67. Became Baltimore County’s first female police officer assigned to uniformed patrol duty after graduating in 1974 from the police academy. As a detective in the Youth Services Division, she investigated child-abuse cases, serving as the division’s spokesperson to the media and reaching out to public groups.
Dudley Clendinen, 67. His elegant journalism for newspapers in Baltimore, New York, and Atlanta covered civil rights, the New South, politics, and health care, among other provocative topics. Recently, he wrote poignantly about his own homosexuality, alcoholism, divorce, and the Lou Gehrig’s Disease that claimed his life, also discussing the latter in a series broadcast on WYPR.
Samuel Cook, 91. Hailed as “the dean of labor lawyers” by a colleague at white-shoe Venable LLP, he squared off on behalf of management against the most powerful local and national unions for four decades. His straight-shooting style elicited praise from both sides of the negotiating table.
Lucille Gorham, 81. East Baltimore homemaker vaulted into civic activism as president of Citizens for Fair Housing in 1967, subsequently heading the Madison Square Housing Association, Middle East Community Association, and a neighborhood 4-H Club in her tireless efforts to improve the lives of poor, disenfranchised residents.
Mary Bell Grempler, 81. Groundbreaking real- estate executive opened her own firm in 1960, expanding it dramatically. Grempler Realty Inc. grew to include a real-estate school, plus companies handling mortgages, titles, and insurance, with 22 branches and 800 employees when it sold for $10 million in 2000.
Mary Lynn Harvey, 54. In her capacity as director of Baltimore County’s Office of Community Conservation, she oversaw the preservation and enhancement of neighborhoods, rolling out urban design assistance teams in Dundalk, Randallstown, Towson, and Essex-Middle River, plus creating new, affordable housing countywide.
Monsignor James Vincent Hobbs, 81. In 1992, he took over as rector at the city’s imposing, 200-year-old Basilica of the Assumption, the nation’s first Roman Catholic cathedral. In addition to hosting Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa, he shepherded the basilica’s two-year, $32-million rehabilitation.
Theodore Holmes, 72. Resourceful black businessman launched the Chicken George fast-food restaurant business at Mondawmin Mall in 1979, serving genuine spicy Southern cuisine. From his Baltimore headquarters, he built a mini-empire, with multiple franchises.
Bernard Kapiloff, 95. Respected plastic surgeon——in private practice and as Sinai Hospital’s chief of plastic surgery——earned a reputation as a social justice crusader as publisher of the Montgomery County Sentinel, which staunchly defended civil rights. Stalwart philanthropist generously supported Jewish and Zionist causes despite repeated anti-Semitic attacks on his home.
William “Bo” Kelly Jr., 84. Lauded architect’s firm designed the Waxter Center, the city’s main post office, and the state’s pavilion for the 1964 World’s Fair, while also rehabilitating Pimlico Race Course’s iconic clubhouse. A dedicated preservationist, he founded Baltimore Heritage and served as inaugural chairman of the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation.
Michael Edward “Mick” King, 47. Daytime bartender at the scruffily likable Mount Royal Tavern, presided over the place’s mixed-media merry-prankster goings-on with an avuncular world-weariness. His annual Kung Fu Christmas provided a haven for holiday orphans. Like many of his customers, he made unconventional art and music.
Christopher Lyles, 30. Electrical engineer became only the second person ever to undergo cutting-edge surgery that replaces a cancerous windpipe with a synthetic one created from the patient’s own stem cells. He died four months after the transplant procedure was performed in Sweden.
Lee MacPhail, 95. Baseball-savvy Orioles general manager from 1959 to 1965 who created a formidable farm system that eventually produced the critical core of 1966’s World Series-winning team. Later, as president of the American League, he sensibly adjudicated 1983’s infamous George Brett pine-tar bat incident. Inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame in 1998.
Robert E. Mason, 95. The Johns Hopkins Hospital cardiologist, internist, educator, and researcher developed the 12-step stress test in 1965 that has since been used universally to determine whether a patient undergoes coronary bypass surgery or a less-invasive angioplasty. The procedure has saved millions of lives.
Kenneth Maylath, 75. Much-admired radio broadcaster signed on as a news announcer and reporter at the city’s WFBR in 1962, eventually hosting the station’s boisterous current-affairs discussion program, Conference Call. When WFBR was sold in 1988, he moved on to work as news director at WCBM.
H. Berton McCauley, 98. As the progressive chief of the dental division of the city health department, he led the successful 1952 initiative to make Baltimore the first major urban area in the U.S. to fluoridate its water supply, overcoming entrenched opposition in the process.
DeAndre McCullough, 35. Co-authors David Simon and Edward Burns copiously chronicled his exploits as a winsome West Baltimore mid-teen drug dealer in their 1997 book The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood, which morphed into an Emmy-winning HBO mini-series of the same name.
Patrick “Scunny” McCusker, 49.
Everybody, it seems, loved Scunny McCusker, the perpetually upbeat “Mayor of Canton” whose rollicking, Elvis-memorabilia-bedecked Nacho Mama’s on O’Donnell Square kick-started the neighborhood’s renaissance when he opened it in 1994. So when he died in a bicycle accident in Ocean City this past August, it came as no cosmic surprise that more than 2,000 mourners/friends/admirers crammed into Baltimore’s austere Cathedral of Mary Our Queen to toast his decidedly un-austere life. They came to praise Scunny, not bury him. “It is impossible to quantify his positive contributions to the city of Baltimore,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a bona fide BoS (buddy of Scunny), announced in a statement after he died.
Born in Baltimore, raised in Carney, and a graduate of Loch Raven High School, McCusker loved everyone right back—from Baltimore City to Ocean City. McCusker opened Nacho Mama’s at a time when Canton was “a place you had to drive through from Interstate 95 to get to Fells Point,” as he told The Baltimore Sun in 2007. The restaurant’s remarkable success emboldened others to invest in the neighborhood, and also allowed McCusker to launch his Mama’s on the Half Shell seafood restaurant there in 2003.
While his name is not chiseled into any hospital or museum walls, McCusker operated as a low-key philanthropist, most notably supporting the Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation, which aids families who come to Baltimore to be with their who are children receiving serious medical attention. A foundation board member, McCusker provided 16,000 meals to those families.
Clarence M. Mitchell III, 72.
When it came to public service, Clarence M. Mitchell III was to the manner born, so to speak: son of famed civil-rights leader and NAACP lobbyist Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. and Baltimore City NAACP branch president Juanita Jackson Mitchell; nephew of activist U.S. Congressman Parren Mitchell. As a member of the Maryland General Assembly representing West Baltimore—in the House of Delegates from 1963 to 1967; in the State Senate from 1967 to 1986—he broke down racial barriers, most memorably helping to write and pass a groundbreaking 1963 desegregation bill.
But his political life was also tainted by scandal. In 1987, a federal court convicted him of wire fraud and trying to derail a federal probe into the affairs of a minority defense contractor. Additionally, he was found guilty of attempting to obstruct a federal grand jury investigation of a local drug dealer.
Sentenced to a combined four-and-a-half years, he served only 18 months in prison.
Born in St. Paul, MN, Mitchell moved with his family to Northwest Baltimore as a boy. His political ambitions outside the General Assembly proved unsuccessful: He lost several races, notably the 1971 Democratic primary for Baltimore City mayor to William Donald Schaefer and the 1986 Democratic primary for the 7th District U.S. congressional seat to Kweisi Mfume. In the non-political realm, Mitchell worked as a real-estate broker, consultant, and mortgage banker.
“Clarence Mitchell III devoted his life to championing the underserved,” Congressman Elijah Cummings said in a statement following Mitchell’s death. “Providing a voice to the voiceless was in his DNA.”
Art Modell, 87.
The day after the Ravens pounded the Cincinnati Bengals 44-13 to begin their 2012 season, hundreds packed into a memorial service to celebrate the life of team owner Art Modell. “Art gave us back our pride,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said. “When the Ravens won the Super Bowl [in 2001], we had the bounce back in our step again. We were back, and Art Modell did that for us.”
Although best known here as principal owner of the Ravens, Modell also earned a reputation as a savvy businessman who transformed the entire NFL, making professional football the nation’s most popular sport: He negotiated contracts with TV networks on behalf of all NFL owners; hammered out the NFL’s first collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union; urged expansion into new cities; and facilitated the merger of the NFL with the AFL, among other innovations. “Art was a visionary who understood the critical role that mass viewing of NFL games on broadcast television could play in growing the NFL,” noted league commissioner Roger Goodell.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, Modell worked as a producer for the ABC network in the late-1940s/early-1950s, followed by a stint as a creative at a New York City ad agency. In 1961, he bought the Browns for $4 million. When efforts to secure a new stadium for the team fell through in 1995, he relocated the Browns to Baltimore for the 1996 season, rebranding them as the Ravens. In 1999, Modell sold a minority interest in the team to Steve Bisciotti and, five years later, turned over controlling interest.
Along with his wife, Patricia, Modell generously supported the city’s medical and arts institutions: $100 million to The Johns Hopkins Hospital, $3.5 million to the Lyric Opera House (now named in their honor), just to name two.
“This was an amazing man,” ex-Maryland Stadium Authority boss John Moag told The Baltimore Sun. “What he did for his community . . . is truly beyond measure.”
Susie Mudd, 56. Ardent supporter of the local music scene——everyone from singer-songwriter Sonia to hair-band rockers Child’s Play——via the free tabloid Music Monthly, which she owned, published, edited, and wrote for in its various incarnations over nearly 30 years.
Nancy Lee Murphy, 81. Tireless Catonsville activist and volunteer——PTA, Little League, Democratic clubs——leaped into elected politics in 1982, representing her community in the House of Delegates, and, eventually, the State Senate. Her 12 years in the General Assembly were marked by a deep concern for criminal justice reform.
Stanley I. Panitz, 88. Real-estate developer with a social conscience earned national accolades for the innovative Bolton Square townhouse community in Bolton Hill. As Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc. president, he urged builders to embrace open-housing policies to eliminate racial discrimination.
Osborne Payne, 87. Self-starting entrepreneur built a mini-empire of local McDonald’s franchises, mentoring thousands of inner-city kids as employees while solidifying small-business growth in economically challenged neighborhoods. Founding chairman of Associated Black Charities now stands immortalized in the city’s Great Blacks in Wax Museum.
Wilbur D. “Woody” Preston Jr., 90. Chairman of the prominent Whiteford, Taylor & Preston law firm oversaw its spectacular growth and transition from a defense-oriented practice to one that emphasized business law. Also served as point man for the state during its crippling mid-1980s savings-and-loan crisis, authoring a report that resulted in the reform of that industry.
Shirley Reingold, 89. Under the professional name of Deborah Chessler, she served as midwife to the creation of rock and roll when she co-wrote (with her mother) the hit 1948 rhythm-and-blues song “It’s Too Soon to Know,” recruited local vocal group The Orioles to record it, and went on to manage them for six years.
Adrienne Rich, 82. Baltimore-born-and-raised poet and essayist achieved widespread renown, including winning the National Book Award, for her meticulously calibrated verse and unflinchingly honest prose that plumbed the depths of contemporary feminine identity. Famously, in 1997 she declined the National Medal of Arts in reaction to the suggested slashing of arts funding.
Patricia “Patty” Rouse, 85.
Patty Rouse met her future husband Jim on a tennis blind date (of sorts) in Norfolk in 1973, matched by mutual friends as doubles partners. At the time, he was changing the American landscape as chairman of the Rouse Co., developer of Columbia, among other intrepid projects; a Norfolk native, she was serving as president of the area’s Health-Welfare Recreation Planning Council. Both were divorced; both harbored a passion for improving the nation’s cities. They married a year later, moving into a home in Columbia’s Wilde Lake neighborhood.
In 1979, Jim Rouse founded the innovative nonprofit Enterprise Foundation to create affordable housing in 30 American cities, seeding the initiative with $1 million from his own pocket. In Baltimore, the foundation concentrated its efforts on resuscitating the west side’s long-comatose Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood. As Enterprise’s vice president and secretary, Patty Rouse functioned as its connective tissue, deftly coordinating diverse aspects of multiple projects.
“Patty Rouse was a visionary,” Baltimore Congressman Elijah Cummings announced when Patty died. “Along with her husband, [she] saw a time when all Americans would have a home they could call their own.”
Now known as Enterprise Community Partners Inc., the foundation has generated $11 billion over 30 years to rehab and construct approximately 300,000 residences. “She had a giant heart,” Enterprise CEO Terri Ludwig told The Baltimore Sun, “and she used it to help the poor and eliminate poverty.”
George “Hunky” Sauerhoff, 79. Exuberant Southwest Baltimore political operative functioned as the unofficial mayor of Pigtown. He raised funds, secured votes, and put up signs for candidates, conducting business from various local businesses——notably, Sid’s Tavern on Washington Blvd.
Alice Steinbach, 78.
As a features writer for The Baltimore Sun from 1981 to 1999, Alice Steinbach often worked the plum celebrity beat, spinning out painterly profiles of the bold-faced denizens of culture, politics, media, showbiz, and society. A few examples: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Barbara Walters, and Yves Saint Laurent.
But it was her affecting, elegant story about a non-celeb—in this case, a 10-year-old congenitally blind Northwest Baltimore boy—that seized the attention of the Pulitzer Prize judges, who awarded her the 1985 prize for feature writing, the first Pulitzer ever won by a woman Sun reporter.
“Alice had an extraordinary gift for storytelling,” her former Sun editor, Jan B. Warrington, told the newspaper. “She was a careful observer of the world, and she had a great curiosity about human behavior.”
Born in Baltimore and raised on the city’s west side, Steinbach was a journalism autodidact, never attending college, never studying writing. A stint as publicity director at The Baltimore Museum of Art emboldened her to contribute freelance stories to various publications. Those clippings landed her at The Sun, where, in addition to her features gig, she wrote a weekly column.
Post-Sun, Steinbach taught writing at Princeton, traveled extensively, and authored three highly personal books.“She was a writer’s writer,” WYPR Maryland Morning host Tom Hall said after Steinbach’s death, “respected by her colleagues for her thorough research and marvelous gifts of observation.”
Frank Taliaferro, 89. Chairman of innovative local architectural firm RTKL——the “T”——led its initial design efforts at UMBC and Anne Arundel Community College, as well as its conversion of a strip center into Harundale Mall for the Rouse Company. Mentored numerous architects as the company expanded to become Maryland’s largest.
Maria S. Taylor, 71. She answered the question “How does your garden grow?” by transforming her modest Lake Avenue front lawn into a rollicking Noah’s Ark of topiary figures: ducks, dogs, rabbits, reptiles, et al. Her backyard served as a horticultural hospital for plants and shrubs that she rescued from death’s door.
Chris Toll, 64. Unobtrusively and unswervingly, he multitasked as writer, reader, publisher, editor, hand-holder, and cheerleader for the local poetry scene for 40 years, embracing both established and unknown writers. Recited his work everywhere from MICA in the 1980s to Minás Gallery in the current decade.
Elizabeth S. Trump, 78. Visionary nurse teamed with renowned surgeon R Adams Cowley to establish the pioneering Maryland Shock Trauma Center in 1961. As its director of nursing and Cowley’s chief collaborator, she helped introduce, develop, and expand the concept of shock-trauma treatment, now practiced worldwide.
Harry Tsakalos, 93. As one-half of the entrepreneurial partnership that launched H&S Bakery in 1943 (the “H”), he built a fledgling local business into a mega-national operation that produces more than 100 baked goods, including buns for McDonald’s, from its bread-smell-emanating mothership in Fells Point.
James M. Webster Jr., 75. Celebrated Johns Hopkins University lacrosse attackman in the late-1950s co-captained its 1959 national championship team and was named an All-American three times. He later served as a top administrator in the sport, spearheading the effort to bring the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame to JHU’s Homewood campus.
Margaret E. Yaffe, 100. Dedicated champion of the Enoch Pratt Free Library borrowed her first book from the Patterson Park branch when she was nine. Ultimately, filled key posts with a Pratt support group, vigorously advocating for library funding from government agencies.
Jackie Zajdel, 67. From her Canton beauty salon Kozmic Scizzors, she established a rep as queen of the beehive hairstyle, sculpting countless towers of teased hair. Her friendship with actor Harris Glenn “Divine” Milstead landed her in the orbit of John Waters’s crowd, including a role in his 1972 landmark film Pink Flamingos.