Victorine Q. Adams
Finally, in 1971, something snapped for Victorine Q. Adams. She took the floor in the chambers of the Baltimore City Council one evening that year to make her point: "I am the wife of Willie Adams," the councilwoman declared forcefully. "And his former status has been chronicled and presented for years—over and over."
Adams was responding to the local media's preoccupation with her husband's past life as a kingpin in the local numbers racket, a position he used to catapult into the roles of political power broker, successful business entrepreneur, and, ultimately, philanthropist. And while she did not state it directly, Victorine Adams also was striking a blow for her own accomplishments, outside her status as Mrs. William L. "Little Willie" Adams: schoolteacher, civil-rights pioneer, community activist, businesswoman—and, not incidentally, the first African-American woman elected to the Baltimore City Council.
From 1946, when she established the Colored Women's Democratic Campaign Committee in the living room of her West Baltimore home to aid political office-seekers responsive to a black constituency, Adams pumped her energies into public service, both as an elected official and as a private citizen. "The lady always looked out for people in need," state Sen. George Della Jr., who served with Adams on the city council, told The Sun. "That is what she was in public office to do—to make things better for those in need, and she did a great job."
The daughter of a tavern owner, Victorine Quille was born and raised in Baltimore; graduated from Frederick Douglass High School, Coppin State University, and Morgan State University; and married Willie Adams in 1935. She worked as a schoolteacher for 14 years, while also overseeing the operation of the Charm Centre, a fashionable women's clothing store—dresses, coats, hats, gloves, with many items custom-made—located on Pennsylvania Avenue, ground zero for the city's thriving black business district in the 1940's and 1950's.
A stylish dresser herself, and habitually immaculately coiffed, Adams spearheaded a fundraising campaign to help the black-owned Provident Hospital relocate from Division Street downtown to a more spacious facility on Liberty Heights Avenue in the 1960's, while simultaneously increasing her political clout in African-American and Democratic organizations.
Two years later, Adams was elected to the state's House of Delegates, but resigned office in 1967 to run for Baltimore City Council, becoming the first woman to be elected to that body without having first served out a term as an appointee.
For the next 16 years, Adams concentrated on issues such as housing, nursing homes, and assistance to the elderly; her crowning achievement occurred in 1979 when, after protracted negotiations with the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, the Baltimore Fuel Fund was launched, providing resources that enable families to pay their heating bills. Today, that same fuel fund bears her name.
"Her currency was the quality of life of the community," Raymond Haysbert, a longtime Adams friend and prominent African-American businessman, told The Sun this past January, when Adams died, age 93. "That was what she dealt with."
Haysbert was not alone in mourning Adams. At her funeral, she was lauded by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, City Council President Sheila Dixon, and Lt. Governor Michael Steele, among others. And on his online "Daily Journal," Mayor Martin O'Malley paid tribute to Adams when he wrote, "On a weekend when we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it is fitting that we also remember Victorine Adams, a woman that embodied Dr. King's spirit of equality and social justice for all of our citizens."
Fred B. "Fritz" Cohn
Time to make the Danish coffeecake. And the napoleons. And the challah bread. Not forgetting—decades before the emergence of Duff Goldman—the multilayered rainbow cake. For more than 40 years, Fred B. "Fritz" Cohn meticulously supervised a popular family-run Northwest Baltimore kosher baking business, first at Freddy's Bakery, and, since 1965, at Goldman's Kosher Bakery (no relation to Duff's Charm City Cakes).
Long and folded and chockablock with chocolate and almond, the coffeecake sends devotees into paroxysms of passion. "I've had some of my customers say that it's somewhat addictive," notes Max Louis Cohn, Fritz's son.
Born in Germany, the son of a doctor, Fritz Cohn, too, wanted to practice medicine, but was stymied by the Nazis. Instead, he began working as an apprentice baker in the building where his family lived. After the Cohns relocated to Bolivia to escape the Nazis, Fritz Cohn established a bakery and married his saleswoman, Inge Falkenstein. Together, the couple settled in Baltimore in 1954, with Fritz honing his recipes in a series of bakery jobs—including one at the Hilltop Diner, made famous in the Barry Levinson film Diner—before opening his own place, Freddy's, in 1960. Five years later, he closed that shop and purchased Goldman's (at the intersection of Park Heights and Rogers avenues), then moved it to the Fallstaff Shopping Center in 1973.
"He was a perfectionist," Max Cohn explains. "He didn't care how long something took. He didn't care if he had to make something over. When it left the store, it just had to be perfect."
Cohn rode herd on the operation until he developed Alzheimer's in 2002, continuing to visit the bakery (except on Saturdays, the Jewish Sabbath) up until his death, age 82, this past July. "He forgot many things," his daughter, Leah Cohn Wander, told The Jewish Times, "but never his baking or how to twist challah or make napoleons."
Benjamin Griswold III
Benjamin Griswold III presided over Baltimore's foremost investment institution, Alex. Brown & Sons, for more than 30 years, establishing yet another generational link to his great-great-great grandfather, Alexander Brown, an Irish linen merchant who immigrated to the U.S. in 1800. More than a mere heir to a fabled local legacy, however, Griswold helped to transform Alex. Brown & Sons, overseeing its 1983 metamorphosis from a 178-year-old partnership into a corporation, which presaged its explosive growth from regional powerhouse into international financial player.
"He was a natural leader in a quiet, gentle, and effective way," Edward K. Dunn Jr., a former president of Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co. and ex-Alex. Brown partner, told The Sun.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Griswold graduated from Gilman School in 1929 and Princeton University in 1933. Two years later, he became a partner at Alex. Brown, before serving as a naval officer during World War II. Upon his father's 1946 death, Griswold assumed the post of Alex. Brown's senior partner, remaining in that position up to 1979, then continuing as a senior advisor with the firm until the late 1990's.
Griswold also rode competitively in the area's top timber races, including five Maryland Hunt Cups. Active as a non-competitive rider well into his 60s, Griswold died, age 94, at Fancy Hill, his Monkton farm, this past January.
T. Edward Hambleton
The gilded list of future theater Brahmins whose careers he helped to launch seems preposterously extensive and impressive: the playwrights Wendy Wasserstein, Christopher Durang, and Marsha Norman; the actors Carol Burnett, Meryl Streep, and Sam Waterston; the director Hal Prince. From the crucible of New York's Phoenix Theater, which he co-founded in 1953, producer T. Edward Hambleton ("T" to his intimates) nurtured an off-Broadway company that for 30 years presented intrepid, thoughtful productions that challenged stage conventions.
That first season alone, Hambleton and his Phoenix partner, Norris Houghton, offered Madam, Will You Walk? (starring Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn), Coriolanus (directed by John Houseman), The Seagull (Montgomery Clift's final stage role), and The Golden Apple, which snared the New York Drama Critics Award. Subsequently, the company—with Hambleton serving as managing director after Houghton's defection for academia in 1962—presented a cavalcade of stellar productions headlined by the theater's creme de la crème: Joan Plowright, Uta Hagen, Arthur Kopit, Jerome Robbins, Glenn Close, and on and on until it closed in 1983.
Born in Baltimore, where he continued to live until his death, at 94, in December 2005, Hambleton graduated from Yale in 1934, began producing on Broadway (his initial shows tanked) in 1937, and put in a hitch in the Navy from 1942 to 1945 during World War II. Feeling constrained by the financial vicissitudes and artistic complacency of Broadway, Hambleton and Houghton established the Phoenix to pursue their own vision of vibrant, affordable theater. It "opened the boundaries beyond what was being done," Hambleton told The New York Timesin 2000, "and showed a lot of people who might not have known about it, that these things could be done."
Lena K. Lee
Fellow delegates dubbed her "The Killer." Lena K. Lee, you see, possessed the ability to detect a tainted bill in committee hearings, expose its deficiencies, and, with luck, dispatch the offending legislation before her Maryland House of Delegates confreres could make it law. Representing the city's sprawling 4th District (now the 44th), Lee was among the first African-American women elected to the Maryland General Assembly, serving from 1966, when she turned 60, to 1982, often waging war against what she considered suspect legislation.
"I'm always telling my colleagues, especially the blacks, that their greatest duty is to smell out the snakes and kill bad laws in committee," Lee confided to The Evening Sun in 1976. "If not, then on the floor. No legislator is infallible, and when he passes a bad law, he should be the first one to work for its repeal."
Born into an Alabama coal-mining family and raised in Illinois and Pennsylvania, Lee earned an undergraduate degree in education from Morgan State University in 1939 while teaching sixth graders in Baltimore City schools. Eight years later, she obtained her master's from New York University, and, in 1951, graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law, only the third black woman to do so. From 1952 to 1964, Lee worked as both an educator and attorney, presiding as principal at one city elementary school for 17 years.
Lee spent part of her career in Annapolis, during which time she founded the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus, finally stepping down after anointing Elijah Cummings, now a U.S. Congressman, as her House of Delegates successor.
Afterward, she continued in public service—City Redevelopment Commission, Urban Renewal and Housing Commission, state Advisory Council on Higher Education—and remained vital, vigorous, and vigilant until her death, age 100, this past August.
Dr. John Money
Dubbed the "agent provocateur of the sexual revolution" by The New York Times, Dr. John Money virtually invented the field of sexology—the study of the origins and nature of sexual identity—probing hitherto unexplored territories and shattering long-held taboos during a half-century with Johns Hopkins University and its hospital.
As director of the hospital's Psychohormonal Research Unit and as a professor of medical psychology and pediatrics at the school, Money coined the terms "gender role" and "gender identity"; studied children born with ambiguous genitalia (or surgically mangled sex organs), also counseling parents of such kids whether to raise them as boys or girls; tirelessly advocated gender reassignment surgery for adults uncomfortable with their sexual role; created hormonal therapies to treat chronic sex offenders; and authored a welter of academic papers and books (some with provocative titles such as Venuses Penuses and Sin, Science, and the Sex Police).
"He was the first scientist to provide a language to describe the psychological dimensions of human sexual identity," Dr. Kenneth J. Zucker, psychologist in chief at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, told The New York Times.
Money's work courted controversy, notably objections from what he termed "the forces of antisex," and on one instance sparked a firestorm.
In the mid-1960s, on Money's advice, a Canadian couple with a toddler son whose penis had been mutilated during circumcision began raising him, after castration, as a girl. But as a teen, the boy-turned-girl rejected her new gender role and underwent surgery to obtain a reconstructed penis. The family contended that he never overcame the experience, and, in 2004, he committed suicide.
Born and raised in New Zealand, Money arrived at Hopkins in 1951, settling close to JHU's medical campus, where he lived nearly the rest of his life. Married for a blink in the 1950s and childless, Money died, age 84, this past July.
Dr. Catherine Neill
She called it the "scimitar syndrome," because, on X-rays, the pediatric heart defect she was studying—blood draining from a misshapen right lung into the heart's inferior vena cava—closely resembled the distinctive shape of a curved sword.
That was in 1960, nine years after Dr. Catherine Neill began a five-decade career as researcher, teacher, diagnostician, clinician, author, counselor, caregiver, and volunteer at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where she made countless important contributions to the field of cardiology.
When Neill first delved into infant cardiology in 1950, half of the babies born with heart defects perished before their first birthday; now, approximately 90 percent survive that milestone. Neill's work has much to do with that extraordinary success rate, with 100 papers and 40 book chapters published on the subject.
"Catherine Neill was one of the original leaders in pediatric cardiology at Johns Hopkins," noted Dr. George J. Dover, pediatrician-in-chief at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. "She was a dedicated physician who helped change medicine."
Neill was born and raised in London, where she earned her medical degree, practicing both there and in Toronto before she trained with renowned Hopkins "blue-baby" cardiologist Helen Taussig in 1951. Except for a brief stint back in England, she spent the rest of her career at Hopkins, exploring the causes and treatment of congenital heart disease, while also passing along her knowledge to scores of pediatricians and pediatric cardiologists. Additionally, she studied the psychological and social aspects of adolescent chronic illness.
After she retired in 1993, Neill continued to work as an archivist at Hopkins Medical Institutions, up until a month before her death, age 84, this past February.
Dr. Ronald T. Smoot
In a lifetime studded with firsts, Dr. Roland T. Smoot forged a trailblazing career in the city's medical community, both as a practitioner and as an administrator. Smoot, who died this past January at the age of 78, spent more than 40 years as a doctor, teacher, and counselor/recruiter at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Hopkins Hospital, often the first African-American to occupy his various positions.
Born in the District of Columbia, Smoot earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from Howard University in his hometown, relocating to Baltimore in 1960, when he joined the staff of Provident Hospital; meanwhile, he launched a private practice from the basement of his Ashburton home and participated in
rounds at Hopkins, frequently the only African-American physician in a group that studied and discussed various patients' cases.
That experience prompted Hopkins to recruit him to its outpatient staff—the first black doctor granted admitting privileges—while also naming him a part-time instructor at the School of Medicine.
Smoot went on to become an assistant professor at the school; he also served on the faculty of the University of Maryland's medical school, and, in 1978, was appointed assistant dean of student affairs at Hopkins' School of Medicine, responsible for recruiting and counseling med students. Over 26 years in that post, his efforts resulted in approximately 500 minority students enrolling at Hopkins.
Outside the academy, Smoot was elected president of both the Baltimore City Medical Society and MedChi (the state's equivalent organization), the first black to hold the latter office.
"Quiet leadership is a difficult art," Dr. Edward Miller, dean of Hopkins med school and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, remarked to The Sun at the time of Smoot's death, "but Roland Smoot practiced it well."
Cats, birds, mothers clutching children: Frieda Sohn fashioned a menagerie of affecting abstract figurative sculptures in a multitude of media, while simultaneously passing along her creative wisdom and enthusiasm to several generations of budding local artists as a cherished instructor. Blurring the lines between the representational and the non-representational—"naturalistic rather than realistic," she once noted—Sohn's work, primarily in wood and stone, sought to portray the soul of her subject. "In doing a good piece of art, the heart must come first," she explained to The Evening Sun in 1950, two years after she relocated to Baltimore from New York with her engineer/mathematician husband. "Next, the intellect. Then, the hand." Some of those "good pieces" eventually found their way into the permanent collections of Towson University and the University of Maryland.
"She was very important here in Baltimore for bringing together the practice of art and art education," Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) Director Doreen Bolger told The Sun this past January, shortly after Sohn's death at the age of 94.
Sohn conducted adult-ed classes at the BMA from 1949 to 1968, and also taught at Goucher College, Baltimore Clayworks, and the Jewish Community Center.
Frieda Rosengarten was born in Lithuania, then immigrated to New York with her parents and sister in 1923. She graduated from Hunter College, taught in New York public schools, and then reinvented herself as a sculptor after experiencing an epiphany during an art history class as part of her graduate work at Columbia University, remaining a working artist and teacher into her 90s.
In an era when starting pitchers in major league baseball often barely scrape through five or six innings before giving way to the bullpen, consider this astonishing fact: During the 1971 season, Orioles right-hander Pat Dobson won 12 consecutive games, going the full nine-inning distance on 11 occasions during the skein; nine of those complete-game victories were accomplished consecutively. "People might be amazed by my streak," Dobson told The New York Times back then, "but it's more amazing to me than it is to them."
Armed with a particularly devastating curveball, the six-foot, three-inch Dobson compiled a 20-8 won-loss record in 1971, when all four Orioles starters—Dobson, Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar—notched 20 victories (a feat matched only by the 1920 Chicago White Sox), helping the team snag its third straight American League East Championship.
Dobson's self-effacing comment about his 12-game win streak only partly defined his character, which also brimmed with a relentless shucking-and-jiving jocularity. "He was a pleasure to have on the team," ex-Orioles manager Earl Weaver told the Associated Press in November, after Dobson's death at 64. "He caused a lot of laughs, and he kept his teammates laughing."
Born in Depew, N.Y., Dobson pitched for 11 seasons (and six teams) in the majors, winning 122 games, losing 129, with a career earned run average of 3.54. After he retired as a player in 1977, he continued to work in baseball as a pitching coach (for Baltimore in 1996), scout, and front-office executive. "He made his life baseball," added Weaver, "and enjoyed every minute of it."
Enolia P. McMillan
Woe to the person who en-countered Enolia P. McMillan in the mid-1980's and was notsporting an "I Gave" or "NAACP" button on his or her lapel. As the octogenarian president of the NAACP, McMillan headed a fundraising effort to finance the move of her organization's national HQ from New York to Baltimore. Her chief modus operandi: the modest $1 button.
"She had a very effective sales pitch," Rev. Nelson Rivers III, COO of the NAACP, recalled for NPR. "She would come to you and ask you to buy the button. She would ask you, 'Do you have a dollar for the NAACP?' And then younger people like me, who were active in the NAACP, she would ask us to sell the button. She didn't want the buttons back, she wanted the money."
Her campaign ultimately netted $150,000, helping pave the way for the NAACP to purchase the Baltimore building it has occupied here for the past 20 years.
That relentless dedication defined the life of McMillan, a civil-rights activist and educator who died this past October at the age of 102. Known to friends and associates as "Mrs. Mac," McMillan reanimated the moribund Baltimore branch of the NAACP in 1935, the same year that she married Betha D. McMillan and began a 35-year stint as a city school teacher. She battled to achieve equal pay and treatment for black teachers, while simultaneously working to upgrade facilities and teaching aids for black students.
Born the daughter of an ex-slave and a domestic worker in Willow Grove, Pa., in 1904, McMillan moved with her family to Charles County, and then to Baltimore, where she graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in 1922. In 1927 she graduated from Howard University; that same year, she accepted a job in a Caroline County school. McMillan earned her master's degree in education from Columbia University in New York in 1933; her thesis was entitled "The Factors Affecting Secondary Education for Negroes in Maryland Counties."
Back in Baltimore in 1935, she was elected president of the Maryland State Colored Teachers Association, and used the position to lobby for black teachers to be paid the same as whites. She also embarked on a 55-year odyssey with the NAACP, becoming the local branch's president in 1969, and, finally, helping to lead the national organization as its first woman president from 1984 to 1990.
McMillan worked just as diligently on behalf of West Baltimore's Calvary Baptist Church, which she attended from her teens until her 90s. "She was a beautiful woman of God," her granddaughter Tiffany Beth McMillan told those in attendance, "whose life was her service to us."
Despite being born and raised deep in the heart of Texas, John Goodspeed probably possessed a more nuanced appreciation for the streets of Baltimore, the city's idiosyncratic native tongue, and the quotidian lives of its citizens than pure locals. Goodspeed, author of the weekday Evening Su ncolumn "Mr. Peep's Diary" from 1951 to 1967, brought a droll literary waggishness to his often piquant observations about bootleggers talking shop during a pro wrestling match at the Civic Center (now the Baltimore Arena), roller-skating ladies who lunch, and King's English-challenged cabbies and a-rabbers. A typical Goodspeed plaint: "Doesn't anyone care that four street signs in front of the home of the Mayor of Baltimore misspell 'Albemarle' Street as 'Albermarle' Street?"
As the sole member of his mythical League of Walking Men, Goodspeed boasted that he had pounded the pavements of every street, road, avenue, boulevard, and alley—at least twice—in what he called, with barbed affection, "the Queen City of the Patapsco Drainage Basin."
"I walked around the city in the morning," he told The Sunin 2000. "When I was younger, I'd walk 10 miles, get lunch, come in and write it up. Later, I had a lot of stringers—people ratting on their friends is what it was." One newspaper colleague called him a "civic gadflea."
Goodspeed's metier, the punchy multiple-items column, found favor with readers. "He was an outstanding writer," recalls former state Sen. Julian Lapides, a longtime neighbor of Goodspeed's in Bolton Hill. "What made his column distinctive was its wry humor and pithiness. It was just the first thing you'd want to read in The Evening Sun."
In his citywide perambulations, Goodspeed absorbed and recorded the often ear-jarring local dialect, eventually compiling 130 of its most notable—and egregious—locutions for a 1960 pamphlet entitled "A Fairly Compleat Lexicon of Baltimorese." In its introduction, Goodspeed pointed out that Baltimorese "combines some of the best tonal qualities of Southern Cracker, New York Brooklynese, and Pennsylvania Dutch Singsong—with elements of London Cockney usage and assorted other influences, including the Irish."
A Fort Worth native, Goodspeed graduated with a degree in journalism from Texas Christian University in 1941, he migrated north to take a job at Glenn L. Martin's warplane-manufacturing plant in Middle River; to unwind, he plunked out New Orleans-style jazz piano at the city's cafe-society nightspots. Pink-slipped from Martin in 1948, he latched on as a reporter at the now-defunct Evening Sun, taking over "Mr. Peep's Diary" in 1951; for the next 15 years, five days a week—then thrice weekly for another year—Goodspeed chronicled life in "the number one center of the world for playing hopscotch with rubber shoe heels for markers."
Post-Evening Sun, Goodspeed worked at two suburban Baltimore news-papers, served as an AM radio "diarist," reviewed books for a handful of publications and for the weekly MPT show The Critics' Place, and put in a stint in the PR department at the Social Security Administration. Married four times, Goodspeed retired and relocated to Easton in the early 1990s, where he died, age 86, in September.
"Witty and clever Goodspeed was," notes current Suncolumnist Dan Rodricks, "and sometimes you can say more about Baltimore, or a neighborhood, or a given issue, in one smart paragraph than you can say in 100."
On December 2005, six days before Christmas—and three days before his 65th birthday—Elrod Hendricks donned a Santa suit and beard for a longtime ritual in which he doled out presents and served lunch to underprivileged kids as part of the Orioles annual holiday party. With his built-in Reddy Kilowatt smile and his naturally ebullient personality, Hendricks, the veteran Orioles catcher and coach, relished the role. Two days later he was dead, felled by a heart attack.
Hendricks spent the better part of four decades wearing an Orioles uniform—10 and a half years as a catcher during the club's glory years in the late 60's and throughout the 70's, 28 more as its bullpen coach—effortlessly embodying what has been termed "the Oriole Way," shorthand for the dignified and un-mercenary ethos that once characterized the organization. "We lost the most beloved Oriole of all time," the team's Hall of Fame third baseman, Brooks Robinson, told The Sun. "He has touched more lives in this town than anyone."
That's because Hendricks embraced baseball in general—and the Orioles in particular—with unalloyed vigor and enthusiasm, functioning as the team's unofficial goodwill ambassador on and off the field. In addition to his yearly Santa gig on behalf of the club, he also interacted in myriad ways with fans: signing autographs, posing for snapshots, dispensing "cool towels" to those unfortunates sweltering in the bleachers, and popping into hospitals to cheer Orioles devotees unable to make it to the ballpark. For umpteen summers, he ran a Reisterstown-based baseball camp, teaching local kids how to hit, field, and appreciate the game.
"He was such an outstanding individual and outstanding baseball person," then-Washington Nationals manager and former Orioles Hall of Fame outfielder and manager Frank Robinson told The Sun. "He had a kind word for everybody and a smile for everybody."
A native of the Virgin Islands, Hendricks began his career in professional baseball in 1959, ascending to the major leagues with the Orioles in 1968. Excepting fleeting stints with the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees, he spent his entire professional baseball career with Baltimore, playing with its 1969, 1970, and 1971 World Series teams and coaching with two others, in 1979 and 1983. No great shakes as a hitter (career batting average: .220), Hendricks excelled defensively (career fielding percentage of .990/threw out would-be base-stealers 41 percent of the time), while deftly handling a clutch of stellar pitchers, including Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar, and Pat Dobson (who also passed away this year). In 1977, he assumed the role of bullpen coach for the Orioles while continuing to play occasionally through two more seasons.
Hendricks managed the bullpen operation without interruption until April 2005, when he suffered a minor stroke during an away game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Out of commission for only 19 games, he resumed his duties but was relieved of his post at season's end, with team management citing concern for his health. At the time of his death, he awaited word on a promised off-field position with the Orioles in 2006.
Not surprisingly, approximately 1,000 admirers, including a bevy of ex-teammates and coaches (Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken Jr., Ray Miller, Sam Perlozzo), showed up to celebrate Hendricks at a memorial service a week after his death. "It's a privilege just to have known the man," allowed the usually laconic Murray. Like Sara Lee, nobody didn't like Elrod, ultimately achieving the first-name-only-needed status afforded to only a handful of Orioles: Cal, Brooks, Boog, Elrod.
"All my rewards come from being in this uniform," Hendricks noted during his August 2001 induction into the Orioles Hall of Fame. "The rewards I've gotten from this game far outweigh what I've put into it."
At first, the mystery surrounding Philip Merrill's suicide-at-sea this past June obscured a distinguished life as publisher, diplomat, and philanthropist. But once the authorities concluded that depression had overwhelmed the 72-year-old Merrill, prompting him to shoot himself while aboard his sailboat, the tributes poured in, from Vice President Dick Cheney—"You couldn't help but like a man so authentic, so intelligent, and so enthusiastic"—to Sen. Barbara Mikulski—"He never did anything casually and was vice president of nothing."
Merrill successfully multi-tasked on a cosmic scale, deftly balancing a vast array of endeavors in business, government, and public service. His resume runs to pages long: Chairman of Capital-Gazette Communications—publishers of Washingtonianmagazine, Annapolis's daily The Capital, and a quintet of community newspapers (he also once owned this magazine). Diplomatic posts as president/chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States; assistant general to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; Defense Department Policy Board member; overseas and domestic emissary/troubleshooter. Also: Benefactor of JHU's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies ($4 million), the University of Maryland's College of Journalism named in his honor ($10 million), and an environmental center, also named after him, for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation ($7.5 million).
A native Baltimorean, Merrill graduated from Cornell University and Harvard Business School before embarking on a journalism career that culminated at The Capital, where his mordant editorials made Maryland and D.C. pols squirm. As Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher put it, "There aren't many individualists left in a business now dominated by many-tentacled corporations; Merrill was his own man."
The PBS brass affectionately dubbed Louis Rukeyser "the Big Bird of Prime Time" because his cachet with moneyed viewers persuaded them to donate generously during periodic on-air beg-a-thons, just as the outsized Sesame Streetcharacter served as a rainmaker with the parents of adoring toddlers.
For 32 years, Rukeyser—with his avuncular presence, impeccably tailored suits, silver lion's mane unchanged since the 1970s, wince-inducing puns, and clench-jawed delivery—presided over the proceedings at PBS's wildly popular Wall $treet Week, a breezy, half-hour, Friday-evening financial analysis/advice coffee klatch. Produced in the Owings Mills studios of Maryland Public Television (MPT), Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser, to cite its full title, reached from four to six million viewers, depending on whose figures you believe, at its mid-1980's apogee, with Rukeyser and his revolving panel of business-world pundit-experts un-wonkishly digesting and interpreting the nation's (and the planet's) economy.
At the program's epicenter resided the imposing, self-possessed Rukeyser, who, as writer/host, oversaw a format—opening monologue followed by chats with an array of informed guests—that echoed that of late-night network talk shows.
"He brings to the tube a blend of warmth, wit, irreverence, thrusting intellect, and large doses of charm," Moneymagazine once noted, "plus the credibility of a Walter Cronkite."
Born in New York City the son of a respected business journalist, Rukeyser graduated from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1954, at which point he took a staff job with the now-defunct Evening Sun. Barely settled into his new post, he served in the Army for two years, before reassuming duties at the paper in 1957, first as a political reporter, then as a foreign correspondent. He defected to ABC News in 1965, working as an overseas reporter, London bureau chief, and top business correspondent.
On loan to MPT, he launched Wall $treet Week in 1970, turning his full energies to the program beginning in 1973. Somewhat improbably, the show turned into a huge hit. "Rukeyser has popularized a subject once considered too dull to print, let alone broadcast," the New York Daily News enthused. "He's a broadcasting dynamo and has become the economic guru of the industry."
Commuting to MPT via train each Friday from his home in Connecticut, Rukeyser held forth knowledgeably and comprehensibly on the stock market, mutual funds, and myriad mysteries of the financial universe. "You say 'economics' to the average person, and it's perfectly true that the chin will hit the chest and the eyelids will roll a little heavy," he told NPR in 1984. "But you say 'money,' and, wow, you get a reaction: The eyelids pop open and the nostrils flare, and you have that person's full attention."
Never afraid to polish his own apple—"I invented the job of economic commentary on television," he declared in 1980—Rukeyser resourcefully parlayed his celebrityhood into other ventures, spinning off books, a three-times-a-week syndicated column, and two newsletters, while commanding major fees for in-the-flesh tutorials on the lecture circuit.
But the good times hit a serious snag in mid-2001 when MPT indicated to Rukeyser that, in the interest of reaching a younger audience, the program required an overhaul, including a diminution of his role. Less than a year later, in a scene straight out of the film Network, Rukeyser lambasted his MPT bosses while rallying his fans, urging them to "write or e-mail your local PBS station saying you heard Louis Rukeyser is still going to have a program and that you'd like to see it."
Not surprisingly, MPT fired him two days later. Unruffled, Rukeyser immediately decamped to cable network CNBC to host a W$W clone, taking a sizable portion of his old show's audience with him, and he reigned there until October 2003, when declining health forced him off the air (the show limped on without him for more than a year). He died this past May, age 73.
Dr. J. Tyson Tildon
Hailed as a potent force in both the public-service arena and the realm of science, Dr. J. Tyson Tildon worked assiduously to improve the lives of children in Baltimore and beyond. In addition to the top posts at the city's Civil Service Commission, Board of School Commissioners, and the Enoch Pratt Free Library's board of trustees, Tildon served as chairman of the city's school board from 1997 to 2003, re-energizing the byzantine school system by replacing a superintendent and fellow board members that he considered ineffective, while simultaneously bringing a new rigor to classrooms.
He manifested his mantra—"We will not allow the toxicity of low expectations"—by strenuously insisting that students advance in grade only when warranted by accomplishment. No longer would "social promotion" be allowed, Tildon decreed, with students strictly gauged by test scores and grades. While this sometimes meant that children failed a grade, Tildon's program ultimately improved test scores and graduated a higher percentage of students.
"People did not have any belief that our children could succeed," he explained to The Sun in 2003, "but these kids want to learn."
A city native, Tildon excelled academically, graduating as valedictorian of his class at Frederick Douglass High School, then earning a degree in chemistry from Morgan State University. After a teaching stint at Goucher College, he joined the pediatrics department at the University of Maryland in 1968, teaching and engaging in research into the intricacies of children's minds; additionally, he studied sudden infant death syndrome and childhood mental retardation.
Former colleagues in medicine and the public sector mourned his death this past February, age 74, with Edward Brody, who served with Tildon on the school board, noting, "This is a man who dedicated his life to social service."
Much of the information in this article draws on the outstanding work of the obituary writers at The Sun and journalists from other publications and media.