Bernard Manekin, 95
(October 4, 1914 – September 5, 2009)
As the Mr. Outside dealmaker to his brother Harold's Mr. Inside bean counter, Bernard Manekin, who died this past September at the age of 95, helped establish the city's most successful commercial real estate business, developing, managing, and/or owning diverse projects such as the original Charles Center, Lord Baltimore Hotel, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and the Rotunda, among many others. Together, from the late 1940s through 2000, the Manekins' company remade the Baltimore skyline. "There is little of downtown that does not bear a Manekin mark," The Sun rhapsodized in 1996.
Born in Philadelphia, Bernard Manekin moved here with his family in 1917, graduating from City College and obtaining a law degree from the University of Maryland in 1936. "Law school and real estate seem to go well together," he told The Daily Record in 2008. True. Manekin & Co. thrived over five decades, eventually expanding into the Baltimore suburbs and inching toward Washington, before the brothers sold a majority interest in the firm in 2000 and retired, allowing Bernard to indulge his considerable local philanthropy—The Walters Art Museum, Sinai Hospital, Associated Jewish Charities—full time.
Malcolm Sherman, 87.
Realtor selflessly fought segregation and prejudice by striving to find homes for blacks in local white neighborhoods in the 1950s and 1960s. Later, his anti-Vietnam War activism landed him on President Richard Nixon's "enemies list."
Millard Kaufman, 92.
Hopkins grad enjoyed successful Hollywood screenwriting career—twice nominated for an Oscar—while also co-creating cartoon icon Mr. Magoo. At age 90, he cranked out a well-received debut comic novel.
Anne Brown, 96.
Baltimore-born soprano's voice so enraptured composer George Gershwin that he expanded the role of Bess for her in his ground-breaking 1935 opera, Porgy and Bess, for which she earned critical hosannas.
Betty L. Johnson, 94.
Co-founder of Bolton Hill's venerable City Temple of Baltimore Baptist Church put her faith into action, conducting tireless outreach to the poor, the homeless, prison inmates, pregnant teens, and various at-risk and vulnerable populations.
Steve McNair, 36
(February 14, 1973 – July 4, 2009)
Probably a few years past his prime, quarterback Steve McNair joined the Ravens for the 2006 season, imparting leadership, stability, and a fierce competitiveness to a team somewhat adrift. With McNair shepherding the offense, the Ravens posted a 13-3 record to win the division title, before losing to Indianapolis in the second round of the NFL playoffs.
Plagued by nagging injuries, McNair played in only six games the following season; he retired in April 2008 after 13 years in the NFL, the first 11 with the Tennessee Titans and that team's predecessor, the Houston Oilers. "If you were going to draw a football player—the physical part, the mental part, everything about being a professional—he is your guy," Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle told The Sun in July, just after McNair, 36, was shot to death in a murder-suicide in Nashville.
McNair piloted the Titans to the 1999 Super Bowl, shared the 2003 NFL Most Valuable Player award, and was named to the Pro Bowl team on three occasions.
"He was a great player," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome told The Sun, "one of the toughest of competitors and a tremendous teammate, a leader on the field and in the locker room."
Irona Pope, 69.
Indefatigable East Baltimore community activist ran a food co-op, served as an elementary school parent liaison officer, secured housing for poor families, and persuaded many to forswear drugs, dauntlessly confronting drug dealers and city bureaucrats to achieve her goals.
Gerda M. Deterer, 68.
German immigrant saved injured animals, first operating Wild Bird Rescue out of her Dundalk home, then expanding to include foxes, raccoons, and more as Wildlife Rescue on a Carroll County farm.
Dorothy W. Taylor, 96.
Petite actress blazed through several early-1930s films—co-starring with legendary film comedians Laurel & Hardy, as well as with Baltimore-born funnyman Charley Chase—before returning here to serve as entertainment director for a prominent nursing home.
Ann Wilder, 77.
Prep school art teacher co-established Vanns Spices, helping to catapult the company to soaring financial success and culinary accolades by placing its painstakingly prepared products in gourmet groceries.
Phyllis Frankel, 82.
Soprano performed with the Baltimore, Washington, New York City, and Peabody opera companies, then taught voice for nearly 20 years at Towson University, where she also co-directed the school's Opera Workshop.
Dr. Miriam P. Hardy, 97.
Acclaimed audiologist, speech pathologist, and educator co-founded Johns Hopkins Hospital's Hearing and Speech Center in 1947, pioneering methodologies for identifying and treating language disorders, particularly in children.
Christine Sarbanes, 73.
In addition to her official public role as the wife of U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes, she also taught classics at Goucher College, and French, Greek, and Latin at Gilman School, while advocating for local libraries, schools, museums, and cultural organizations.
Rosalie S. Abrams, 92.
The first woman and Jewish majority leader of the state Senate, Abrams, who represented Northwest Baltimore, focused her legislative energies on mental healthcare, women's rights, the environment, and the elderly.
Betty Hyatt, 83.
Energetic Southeast Baltimore community organizer served as president of the Citizens of Washington Hill Inc., championing new and rehabbed housing, among other initiatives, in her 28-block neighborhood.
Margaret Dempsey McManus, 89.
Intrepid writer in the 1940s for The Evening Sun met future ABC Sports superstar broadcaster Jim McKay at the paper. After they married and moved away, she wrote a syndicated column about celebrities, plus articles spotlighting powerful D.C.-based women.
Rowland W. Fontz, 82.
A precisionist church pipe-organ builder and clockmaker by trade, he earned the monikers "Father Time" and "The Clock Man" as the devoted caretaker of downtown's persnickety four-sided Bromo Seltzer Tower clock and the clock atop City Hall.
Henry "Jim" Koellein Jr., 82.
As president of the local bakery and tobacco workers union and, later, head of the Metropolitan Baltimore Council of the AFL-CIO, he doggedly represented labor interests, eventually serving as state commissioner of labor
William D. Zantzinger, 69.
Charles County tobacco farmer earned infamy via Bob Dylan's 1964 song "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll," based on the real-life incident in which a drunken Zantzinger struck waitress Carroll, inducing a fatal stroke, at a downtown society ball.
Gerald J. Stautberg, 79.
Ubiquitous presence on local TV and radio as pitchman for his Govans-based car dealership ("5600 York Rd. at Bellona, the best place to become a Chevrolet ownah"); he eventually relocated to Parkville, adding Toyota and Mitsubishi businesses.
Mark P. Cohen, 62.
Respected chief of the Baltimore state's attorney's office's homicide division tried—and won—numerous complex cases, gaining the convictions of "black widow" Geraldine Parrish in a murder-for-hire scheme and a city correctional officer for the stomping death of an inmate.
Cornell N. Dypski, 77.
Political maverick championed Canton/Highlandtown/Locust Point working families in the House of Delegates and state Senate for more than 25 years, sometimes straying from fellow Democrats' party line to reflect his constituents' views.
Nick Adenhart, 22. Hagerstown-area native with a promising future in Major League Baseball had just pitched six scoreless innings for the Los Angeles Angels when he was killed, along with two others, when their car was rammed by a minivan piloted by a drunken driver.
Dr. Michael A. Koenig, 56.
Renowned Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health researcher, educator, and author investigated domestic violence, child abuse, reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS prevention in developing nations.
Gwinn F. Owens, 87.
Career journalist spent more than 20 years as editorial director at WJZ-TV, before signing on as op-ed page editor at The Evening Sun, and, finally, serving as an editorial writer for the paper, often carping that Baltimore was inexplicably omitted from maps and globes.
Alphonso "Al" Brown, 79.
Leader of the nine-piece band the Tunetoppers, whose 1960 record "The Maidson" helped launch a local/national/international dance craze when featured on Baltimore TV's the Buddy Deane Show; the dance was later immortalized in John Waters' Hairspray.
Mike Woods, 54.
A linebacker with the NFL's Baltimore Colts in late-1970s/early-1980s, he was inadvertently shot in a 1982 robbery attempt in Cleveland, leaving him a quadriplegic; nonetheless, he earned a college degree, helped raise four kids, and inspired all who met him.
Joseph A. Kolodziejski, 62.
Street sweeper who ascended through the ranks to become hard-charging head of the City's Bureau of Solid Waste, introducing daily downtown and Inner Harbor street-cleaning, reducing Baltimore's rat population, and eliminating bulk trash from neighborhoods.
Rodger Doxsey, 62
(March 11, 1947 – October 13, 2009)
When, in 2004, NASA discontinued manned servicing missions to the estimable Hubble Space Telescope, Rodger Doxsey, head of mission operations at the Johns Hopkins-based Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), led a team that devised ingenious ways to keep it operational until astronauts returned to administer a critical, final tune-up this past spring.
"He understood this observatory from top to bottom, and knew it like few others out there," Kenneth Sembach, Hubble project scientist, told The New York Times this past October after Doxsey died at age 62.
Doxsey's intimate involvement with Hubble lasted for 28 years, from initial planning to its 1990 launch to preparations for the May manned mission that revitalized the telescope.
Born in Schenectady, N.Y., Doxsey earned a doctorate in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, signing on with the fledgling STScI in 1981 as the person tasked with making the Hubble telescope useful for astronomers. Doxsey was "the heart and soul of Hubble," STScI director Matt Mountain told The Times. "He could zoom in and out and see the whole telescope system, or zoom in and see the spring that wasn't working."
Marvin Webster, 56
(April 13, 1952 – April 4, 2009)
They called him the "Human Eraser" for a legitimate reason: As a seven feet, one inch basketball center, Marvin Webster erased shots a nanosecond after the ball left opponents' hands, a potent defensive skill that enabled him to lead, first, Morgan State to the NCAA's Division II championship in 1974, and, four years later, the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics to the league's championship finals.
A Baltimore native, Webster towered over other players both literally and figuratively at Edmondson High and Morgan, where has was named 1974 Division II player of the year.
He moved on to the pros, experiencing a breakout season in 1978 with Seattle, but hepatitis, initially contracted while at Morgan, hobbled him in subsequent years, and he retired in late 1985.
The disease governed the remainder of Webster's life, which included a brief, unsuccessful NBA comeback and fleeting jobs in real estate and sales; mostly, though, he lived peripatetically, staying in various hotels. His ex-wife died at 39; his son, Marvin Jr. ("Eraser Jr." as starting center for Temple University), at 18. And in April, Webster, just shy of turning 57, died alone in one his many hotels, this one in Tulsa, OK.
"Marvin was the nicest guy on our team," Webster's 1974 Morgan teammate Joe McIver told The Sun. "For his life to go the way it did seems very unfair."
Albert F. Sisson, 81.
In the late 1970s, he transformed an E. Cross Street bar into an upscale restaurant and pub, and then, after helping to persuade the General Assembly to change a prohibitive law, opened the state's first brewpub at the site.
Philip D. Curtin, 87.
A respected Johns Hopkins University-based historian, his incisive study of the African slave trade significantly altered the subject's perception, leading to its widespread acceptance and introduction into the curricula of U.S. universities.
Donald N. Rothman, 86.
Formidable litigator and a founding partner of distinguished city law firm Gordon Feinblatt Rothman Hoffberger & Hollander also fostered regional theater by playing lead role in launching Center Stage in 1963 and overseeing its growth thereafter.
Jack Heise, 84.
University of Maryland, College Park alum and lawyer earned the nickname "Mr. Maryland" for his devotion to the school's football and men's basketball teams, both as a leading donor to the UM's athletics department and as a constant presence at games for more than 60 years.
Clarisse Mechanic, 85
(May 22, 1924 – October 17, 2009)
From her designated perch in seat D-103, Clarisse Mechanic watched part of—although not necessarily all of—opening-night productions at the Charles Center playhouse named for her husband, Morris Mechanic, from 1967, when the theater debuted, until 2003, when it shuttered its doors.
After Morris Mechanic died in 1966, Clarisse took over ownership and operation of the 1,614-seat playhouse, the city's principal venue for traveling Broadway shows for more than 35 years.
Additionally, she assisted, through the Mechanic Foundation, numerous local charities, from the Prisoners Aid Association of Maryland to The Johns Hopkins Hospital. "She was compassionate, with a passion to help anyone who was in need or any organization whose mission was to help those in need," Phyllis Reese, a trustee of the foundation, wrote in a letter to The Sun after Mechanic died, age 85, in October.
Born in Cleveland, OH, Mechanic began her backstage showbiz career managing the big band orchestra led by her brother Harry, known professionally as the Blue Barron. After her marriage, she booked shows at downtown Baltimore's now-defunct Ford's Theatre, part of her husband's theatrical firm, and then worked with him to create his namesake playhouse, cutting the ribbon at its opening before watching its debut production, Hello, Dolly!—or at least part of it.
Dr. Oscar B. Camp, 88.
After founding Laurel General Hospital and running a successful Baltimore surgical practice, he co-created United Optical in 1968, eventually expanding the firm to become national dental/medical insurance company United HealthCare.
Frederick L. Bierer, 61.
A Mt. Vernon-based bankruptcy attorney for more than 30 years, he raised money to save the city's annual Flowermart in 2000 after the Women's Civic League relinquished the event's stewardship.
Rev. Nathaniel Higgs, 78.
As pastor of East Baltimore's Southern Baptist Church for almost 40 years, he engineered the construction of his congregation's new building, and led church efforts to establish black-owned The Harbor Bank of Maryland and develop homes and a senior center in Broadway East.
Anderson J. Pigatt, 81.
Self-taught sculptor operated a gallery out of his W. Saratoga Street home, where his critically heralded mid-size and large-scale wooden works emphasized African heritage and culture, as well as depicting the triumphs and tragedies of African-Americans.
Verna Day-Jones, 85
(June 22, 1924 – October 2, 2009)
With more than six decades' experience as a stage, film, and TV actress, Verna Day-Jones embraced her profession, relishing her roles while intuitively understanding what they meant to her personally. "The theater has been my chance to prove something," she told The Sun in 1991. "In a way, I'm a ham. I want people to know Verna."
People knew Day-Jones mostly through her 56-year association with Arena Players, Baltimore's premier African-American company, appearing in its second-ever production, Picnic, in 1953, the year Arena launched, and continuing there right up until her death this past October, age 85.
Born in Pittsburgh, Day-Jones relocated to Baltimore in 1943 to work for the Social Security Administration, rising through its ranks during a 41-year career with the federal agency. Meanwhile, she established an outsized acting reputation, augmenting her stage roles with parts on TV's Homicide, The Wire, and The Corner—all set in Baltimore—and in movies shot in the city, notably Hairspray, Clara's Heart, and The Bedroom Window.
"She was born to be an actress," casting director Pat Moran told The Sun, "and I believe had Verna gone to New York, she would have been one of the great actresses of the stage."
Edward A. Trahan, 83.
Spent 23 years as a radio and TV producer for ad agency W.B. Doner & Co., including using the Muppets for the first time in a commercial. Later, he helped lead the Trahan, Burden & Charles agency to phenomenal growth via local and national accounts.
Bill Burton, 82.
He chronicled state hunting, fishing, and the environment as The Evening Sun's outdoors editor for 37 years, in the process casting or shooting with presidents (Dwight Eisenhower, George H.W. Bush) and sports legends (Brooks Robinson, Johnny Unitas).
Karl Heinz Segall, 97.
German immigrant operated the city's preeminent photography studio from 1939 to 1995, building its business by memorializing countless local high school students for their yearbooks, first in Mt. Vernon, later in Catonsville.
Leon Faruq, 58
(January 30, 1951 – June 24, 2009)
His criminal life began at 13—breaking into homes, businesses, and cars—and escalated exponentially: robbing drug dealers, assaulting a cop, aiding in a massive jailbreak, and, it was alleged, committing first-degree murder, a crime for which he did 27 years in prison. But in 2000, Leon Faruq walked free after persuading a Prince George's County court that he had been mistakenly sentenced, rejoining the outside world with two bachelor's degrees, plus a master's in business administration, all earned in the Big House.
Born Leon Awkard Jr. in Olney, and raised in Washington, D.C. (he changed his surname after converting to Islam), Faruq immediately dove into a life of activism upon his release, founding Respect Outreach Center, which counsels former convicts and troubled youths, and then folding the group into Baltimore's Safe Streets program.
"He had an incredible spirit and an aura about him that captured the respect of young people on the street, gang members, politicians, mayors, and police commissioners," James Piper Bond, president and CEO of Living Classrooms, which oversees Safe Streets, told The Sun after Faruq died at age 58 in June. "His message of no violence on the streets of Baltimore will be his legacy, and his work will go on."
Rev. Joseph C. Martin, 84
(October 12, 1924 – March 9, 2009)
His famous blackboard-and-chalk lecture, the one about alcoholism being a disease and not a moral failing, became known as "The Chalk Talk." The U.S. Navy filmed the speech in 1972, and the Rev. Joseph C. Martin went on to make 40 additional videos of other lectures, write three books, and co-establish Ashley, an eminent Havre de Grace-based substance-abuse treatment center. His work has helped to rescue the lives of tens of thousands of people worldwide.
"Father Martin has done more to educate and treat those suffering from addiction than anyone in the past 50 years," Mike Gimbel, former longtime Baltimore County drug-abuse administrator, told The Sun in March after Rev. Martin died at age 84.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Martin was ordained a priest in 1948; he taught at Roman Catholic seminaries here and in California in the 1950s, while also drinking heavily. Ultimately, the Archdiocese of Baltimore enrolled Rev. Martin in a Michigan treatment facility for the priesthood, where he achieved sobriety and initiated his campaign to aid other alcoholics, culminating with the founding of Ashley in 1983.
"When I came to Ashley, I had been with presidents, kings, popes, and prime ministers," Michael K. Deaver, President Ronald Reagan's deputy chief of staff, once told The Sun. "But Father Martin was the most powerful person I had ever met. You see, Father had the power to change people, to make them better, to make them whole again."
Rabbi Mark G. Loeb, 65.
Polymath led Pikeville's Beth El Congregation for 28 years, while also advocating for civil rights, serving on the panel that favored banning Maryland's death penalty, heading the board of Baltimore Hebrew University, and co-creating the Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies.
Richard M. Pirone, 66.
As a founding senior partner of the Country Fare Group, restaurateur oversaw an eatery empire that included The Brass Elephant, Kings Contrivance, The Milton Inn, City Lights, Country Fare Inn, and Fiori.