William Donald Schaefer, 89
With his lumpy physique, occasionally dour demeanor, and complete indifference to fashion, William Donald Schaefer did not exactly cut a dashing public figure. And yet, absolutely no one exerted a more profound influence on this city in modern times.
From 1955, when he was first elected to the Baltimore City Council, until 2006, when he was defeated for a third term as state comptroller, Schaefer wove his name into every fiber—the very DNA—of Baltimore and Maryland during four terms as mayor (1971 to 1987) and two as governor (1987 to 1995).
Taking over as chief executive of a city in severe decline, Schaefer, born and raised in Baltimore, used the bully pulpit of the mayor's office to utterly transform the urban landscape, clearing away not only the actual physical debris (he replaced the waterfront's rotting piers with Harborplace and the National Aquarium), but also the psychological baggage. (His renewal projects brought national acclaim, erasing Charm City's nagging inferiority complex.) In a 1987 editorial, written when Schaefer assumed the governorship, The Sun succinctly asserted that he had "changed the way the city felt about itself." He filled potholes and fulfilled dreams.
Although his tenure as governor seemed less conspicuously glamorous by comparison, he nonetheless oversaw the updating of Maryland's legal code, while making significant statewide strides in education, transportation, and the environment. Later, as comptroller, he often came off as cantankerous and contentious, rather than constructive and capable.
When Schaefer died this past April, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said, "We have lost a true giant, a part of history. His biggest gift was his spirit, a spirit of possibility, that we have a promising future."
Nancy Alberts, 65. Hardscrabble horsewoman saddled Magic Weisner—a horse that she bred, raised, owned, and trained—to finish second (beaten by less than one length) in the 2002 Preakness.
Robert Lee "Bob" Bell, 78. Built a wide-ranging city and suburban car-dealership business (Ford, Chevrolet, Nissan), hawking his vehicles in ubiquitous, kitschy TV ads while attired in a pink or black tux and sporting sunglasses.
Lowell Reed Bowen, 80. Known for his intelligence and integrity, attorney spent 50 years with white-shoe firm Miles & Stockbridge, ultimately rising to chairman and shepherding the practice through a period of tremendous growth.
Dr. Joseph Vincent Brady, 89. Brilliant behavioral neuroscientist/pharmacologist—first at the University of Maryland, then at Johns Hopkins—pioneered study of the effects of drugs used to address anxiety, emerging as an international expert on treatment programs for substance abusers.
James Bready, 92. Trenchant and witty Evening Sun editorial writer, features writer, and reporter for 34 years also inaugurated The Sun's "Books and Authors" column and oversaw it for a half-century.
Emil A. Budnitz Jr., 79. Three-time All-American with The Johns Hopkins University lacrosse team was named the college sport's top attackman in 1952. Continued on to star with Mount Washington in club lacrosse and was elected to the Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
James M. Cannon III, 93. Intrepid Sun foreign correspondent in the 1950s later worked as reporter/editor/executive at Newsweek before moving to the White House as aide to Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, President Gerald Ford, and President Ronald Reagan's chief of staff, Howard Baker.
Nick Charles, 64. Ebullient WJZ-TV sportscaster in the 1970s went on to launch the sports desk at a then-fledgling CNN in 1980, coanchoring the cable station's Sports Tonight show for nearly 20 years.
Rev. Thomas F. Composto, 72. Dubbed "the Pope of Whitelock St.," social-activist Roman Catholic priest worked diligently for 40 years at the St. Francis Neighborhood Center to bring calm, harmony, and security to the ravaged Reservoir Hill area.
John L. Crew Sr., 85. Veteran city public-schools administrator brought stability to—and restored confidence in—the education system during his stint as superintendent in the late 1970s/early 1980s, during which time test scores increased, City College became coeducational, and the School for the Arts opened.
Kelly Saunders, 62. Genial-toned 98 ROCK deejay also worked in radio at WBAL and on TV as a reporter at WJZ. Achieved sports footnote status when she sat in for a convalescing Rex Barney as Orioles PA announcer for one game in 1992, the first woman to command the Camden Yards mike.
Mike Flanagan, 59
Mike Flanagan's suicide this past August created an emotional pall that seemed to hang over the city for weeks. Flanagan had endeared himself to legions of Orioles fans—and the city's general populace—over more than 30 years as the team's Cy Young Award-winning All-Star pitcher, broadcaster, pitching coach, and front-office executive.
"I know everybody that played with him loved him to death," former Orioles catcher Rick Dempsey, Flanagan's longtime teammate, told The Sun. "He was the backbone of the pitching staff."
Born in Manchester, NH, Flanagan, a left-hander known for his breaking ball, pitched for the University of Massachusetts, and first played for the Orioles in 1975. Over 18 big-league seasons—portions of 15 spent with Baltimore—he had 167 wins and 143 losses, going 23-9 in 1979 to earn the Cy Young Award as that season's top American League pitcher. He won 19 games in 1978, and was named an All-Star. Traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in 1987, he rejoined the Orioles in 1991, and threw the last pitches for the home team at Memorial Stadium.
After retiring as a player, Flanagan served as O's pitching coach in 1995 and 1998, worked on team broadcasts (1996-97, 1999-2002, 2008-11), and helped run the Orioles operation as its executive vice president from 2005 to 2008. He was the color commentator for MASN when he died.
"He never wanted to come out of a game," O's coach and Flanagan teammate Terry Crowley told The Sun. "No matter how good or bad the situation, Mike always tried to make the best pitch every time the ball came out of his hand."
William Lloyd “Little Willie” Adams, 97
In a quixotic twist on the threadbare Horatio Alger success story, William Lloyd “Little Willie” Adams used his abundant determination, shrewdness, and innate intelligence to morph from a teenage illegal-numbers runner into a multimillionaire who controlled a vast business empire. In the process, he helped transform Baltimore’s African-American community and city politics.
When he died in June, Adams left behind a legacy as the man who financed black businessmen when banks refused to loan them money, who leveraged his resources into electing African-Americans to public office, and who donated money to the NAACP, YMCA, and United Negro College Fund.
Born to sharecroppers in North Carolina, Adams arrived in Baltimore at 15 and built a stunningly successful illegal-numbers operation, using the proceeds to invest in fledgling black real-estate enterprises, funeral parlors, beauty shops, groceries, liquor stores, and, most famously, Parks Sausage Co. He was convicted for his street-numbers activities in the 1950s, but the verdict was overturned by the Supreme Court.
He supported campaigns that elected the first African-American to Maryland’s Senate, and made his wife, Victorine, the first black woman to win a seat on the City Council.
Nicholas C. D’Adamo Sr., 86, and Grace M. D’Adamo, 82. Nick Sr. ascended from stock boy to manager to owner of Highlandtown general merchandiser Shocket’s Discount Store, finally closing the shop in 2002. His wife of 61 years, Grace, worked at Hochschild-Kohn department store and later at Sinai Hospital. The parents of City Councilman Nicholas D’Adamo Jr. died one day apart.
L. Patrick Deering, 88. Respected executive with the Coopers & Lybrand accounting firm and Riggs, Counselman, Michaels and Downs insurance brokerage devoted considerable time and financial resources to numerous philanthropic endeavors in the arts, education, and health care.
Jami Grant, 51. Director of the University of Baltimore’s forensic science program established a cutting-edge lab at the school, training classes of detectives and technicians in the intricacies of high-tech crime-scene investigation.
Dr. John W. Griffin, 69. Internationally recognized authority on peripheral nervous-system diseases led The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s acclaimed neurology department, before being named founding director of the school’s Brain Science Institute.
Nancy Marie Haragan, 60. Self-characterized “accidental arts administrator” helped create the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance in 1998, corralling nearly 100 local arts groups under its aegis to advocate effectively on their behalf, and engineered the launch of baltimorefunguide.com and the Maryland Cultural Data Project. Also aided in development of the Baker Artist Awards and steered Arts Every Day program.
Orlando Brown, 40. Nicknamed “Zeus,” Ravens offensive tackle brandished a fearsome competitiveness and intimidating on-field presence (6 feet, 7 inches, 370 lbs.) during his six seasons with the team.
Anne Healy, 97. As headmistress of Roland Park Country School from 1950 to 1975, she convinced its board to open enrollment to black students, and shortly thereafter, introduced computers to the curriculum, making RPCS the first school in Maryland to do so.
Theodore R. “Ted” Jaffee, 92. Resonant-voiced AM radio broadcaster served as news director and morning DJ at WCAO in the 1960s, and occasionally subbed as host of TV’s The Buddy Deane Show. Later helped bring big-band music back to local airwaves at WITH.
Horace Freeland Judson, 80. Blending journalism with history, talented science writer and Johns Hopkins educator spent more than 10 years interviewing nearly 100 scientists before publishing 1979’s The Eighth Day of Creation, lauded as the definitive account of 20th-century developments in molecular biology.
Pamela J. Kelly, 66. A key aide and treasured confidante to William Donald Schaefer, she helped manage both his public (Cabinet meetings) and private (explosive outbursts) affairs during his stints as mayor and governor. She preceded her longtime boss in death by four hours.
Anthony I. Konstant, 87. Aberdeen restaurateur’s fence-mending diplomacy persuaded fellow eatery owners along U.S. 40 northeast of the city to desegregate their operations in the early 1960s. Later ran White Marsh’s Williamsburg Inn, famous for its traditional Maryland cuisine.
Ron Smith, 70
There are few public relationships more personal than that between a radio talk-show host and his listeners, and that is why so many Baltimoreans mourned when longtime WBAL radio talk-show host Ron Smith announced on air last October that he had been diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer. The former marine, who also wrote a weekly column in The Baltimore Sun, died in his Shrewsbury, PA home on December 19. For more than 27 years, Smith, whose nickname was “The Voice of Reason” entertained, enlightened, and sometimes riled up WBAL listeners with his erudite, pellucid, and clear-eyed conservative views. He was a fiercely independent thinker who never shied away from expressing his true feelings on a matter—the most recent war in Iraq, for example—even if that meant upsetting the conservative rank and file. In a 2001 interview with this magazine, he answered the question, “What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done?” with the following: “Telling the truth as I see it. That’s not the smartest thing, but it is the bravest.” He is survived by his wife, June, a warm and witty occasional presence on his show, his five children and seven grandchildren, his devoted WBAL colleagues, and scores of Baltimore radio listeners who loved him like a dear friend. —Max Weiss
Dennis Livingston, 72. Dedicated social activist created Baltimore Jobs in Energy Project to train the disadvantaged, advocated for affordable housing in South Baltimore and Greenmount West and kick-started the Station North renaissance by rehabbing the Cork Factory into apartments.
Peter J. Marcher Jr., 92. Took over as head brew master at National Brewing Co. in 1955, riding herd on the production of National Bohemian and National Premium, while also concocting the recipe for the firm’s Colt 45 malt liquor.
Morris Martick, 88. Proprietor of Martick’s Restaurant Francais for nearly 40 years, the charmingly grouchy host, after studying in France, transformed his parents’ speakeasy-turned-bar (he was born on the second floor) into a cozy beacon of affordable French cuisine.
Louis R. Mills Jr., 76. Nationally revered sound engineer’s Flite 3 Studios was the go-to recording house for music (Frank Zappa, the BSO), movies (Barry Levinson’s Avalon, John Waters’s Hairspray), TV shows (David Simon’s Homicide: Life on the Street), and thousands of commercials.
Dorothy Brunson, 72. Her purchase of WEBB-AM in 1979 made her the first black woman in the U.S. to own a radio station. Expanded her holdings by acquiring radio outlets in Atlanta and Wilmington, NC, plus a Philadelphia TV station.
Wolfgang Oehme, 81 Highly influential German-born landscape architect founded the New American Garden, which used grasses and other perennials to recreate the feel of the American prairie.
Charles R. O’Melia, 76. Renowned water-treatment expert conducted research that led to new EPA standards in water filtration, and then mentored scores of Johns Hopkins University environmental engineering graduate students over 27 years.
Brice R. Phillips, 90. Grew his modest Ocean City crabhouse into a rabidly successful seafood empire that comprises 19 Phillips restaurants—including the Inner Harbor flagship that moved recently to the Power Plant—and a popular line of retail products.
Joseph L. Radebaugh Sr., 88. For 67 years, he oversaw the growth of his family’s full-service Towson greenhouse and floral operation, which raised and sold annuals, perennials, and plants for vegetable gardens.
Vincent Mario “Vince” Rallo, 79. In 1981, career banker assumed ownership and management of his family’s namesake Locust Point restaurant, famed for its home-style breakfasts and lunches—a frequent haunt for cops, reporters, and politicians.
John Mackey, 69
Nearly unstoppable as a player, virtually implacable as a union executive, and even eerily effective while in the grip of the dementia that ultimately would claim his life, John Mackey dramatically changed the sport of professional football on multiple levels. As the 6-foot 2-inch, 224-lb. star tight end for the Baltimore Colts from 1963 to 1971, Mackey reinvented the position, moving beyond the position’s traditional roles as blocker and short-pass catcher and becoming a potent touchdown threat as both a runner and a receiver.
In 10 NFL seasons, Mackey caught 331 passes, none more spectacular than his twice-tipped, 75-yard touchdown reception and run in the Colts’ 1971 Super Bowl victory. Named to five Pro-Bowls teams, he was elected to the Pro-Football Hall of Fame in 1992.
As the president of the NFL Players Association in the early 1970s, Mackey brought substantial improvements to his members’ benefits and pensions, while also leading the successful suit that achieved free agency.
Born in New York City and raised on nearby Long Island, Mackey was named an All-American at Syracuse University, where he majored in history and political science.
In retirement, his legacy continued: The severe dementia that resulted in his death this past July—brought on, presumably, by on-field head trauma—prompted the NFL and the players union in 2007 to offer the 88 Plan (named after Mackey’s jersey number), which offers $88,000 per year to care for former players with the disease.
“All of the benefits of today’s players come from the foundation laid by John Mackey,” Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome told The Sun. “He took risks. He stepped out. He was willing to be different.”
Mary Rosemond, 85. West Baltimore community activist played an important part in defeating efforts to build an interstate highway through the city in late 1960s. She went on to serve as her Rosemont neighborhood’s unofficial historian.
Dorothy McIlvain Scott, 99. Benefactress donated generously—and, almost always, anonymously—to numerous local medical, cultural, educational, and religious entities, including a $10-million gift, along with her remarkable American furniture collection, to The Baltimore Museum of Art.
Elizabeth Scott, 95. Innovative quiltmaker introduced unusual shapes, unconventional elements, and brilliant colors to her artwork. Passed along her creative sensibility to her celebrated multi-disciplinary artist daughter, Joyce.
Bubba Smith, 66. In five seasons with the Baltimore Colts, imposing defensive end twice was named to the Pro-Bowl team and figured prominently in the Colts’ 1971 Super Bowl victory. In retirement, he became a TV pitchman for Miller Lite beer and starred in the Police Academy film franchise.
Barbara Starfield, 78. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health professor and researcher emphasized the critical role that quality primary care plays in reducing both costs and mortality rate in the U.S. and internationally.
John Sampson Toll, 87. Accomplished academic administrator and physics professor became first chancellor of the University System of Maryland in 1988 after shepherding the merger of the five-campus University of Maryland with six schools overseen by the Maryland Board of Trustees of State Colleges and Universities.
Agathe von Trapp, 97. Eldest daughter of the famed Austrian singing family depicted in the film The Sound of Music. With her father, stepmother, and siblings, she relocated to the U.S. in the wake of Nazism, eventually settling in Glyndon and co-running a private kindergarten.
Ernie Tyler, 86. Venerable Orioles umpire assistant whose streak of 3,819 consecutive games ended, appropriately enough, when, at Cal Ripken Jr.’s request, he took a day off to be on hand for the induction into the Hall of Fame of baseball's “other Iron Man.”
Kenneth L. Webster, 76. Two-term representative to the House of Delegates from West Baltimore in the 1970s wrote the bill making Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday an official state holiday, and then doggedly spearheaded its passage.
Piero Weiss, 83. Acclaimed Italian-born concert pianist switched to academia, teaching at the Peabody Conservatory for more than 25 years; also co-wrote the essential college textbook Music in the Western World: A History in Documents.
Paul J. Wiedorfer, 90. During World War II’s fierce 1944 Battle of the Bulge, Army infantryman, under heavy German gunfire, single-handedly destroyed two enemy machine-gun emplacements and then took prisoners. That heroism earned him the military’s top prize, the Medal of Honor.
Vernon H. Wolst Jr., 75. His Project Survival combined teaching and mentoring with programs in basketball and other sports to develop well-rounded schoolchildren competent in math, reading, and civics.
Patricia Modell, 80
Elegant, stylish, and relentlessly personable, Patricia Modell could have passed for an esteemed and adored family matriarch on an afternoon soap opera. The role would have come naturally enough, given that Modell, the philanthropist wife of former Ravens owner Art Modell, appeared in numerous TV shows—and a handful of films—as Patricia Breslin in the 1950s and 1960s.
By the time the Modells relocated to Baltimore in 1995, when Art moved pro football’s Cleveland Browns here to become the Ravens, she had long forsaken Hollywood. As they had done in Cleveland, the Modells dedicated time, energy, and financial resources to local causes, with Patricia serving on the boards of organizations including the SEED School, Kennedy Krieger Institute, BSO, The Walters Art Museum, Lyric Opera House, House of Ruth, and Gilchrist Hospice, where she died in October.
Born in New York City, the green-eyed Breslin starred in the soaps Peyton Place and General Hospital, and had roles on The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Maverick, among other shows. She retired from acting after marrying Art in 1969.
Modell thrived as a philanthropist. “She was a woman who didn’t have to do anything, because of her very successful husband,” former state superintendent of schools Nancy Grasmick told The Sun. “But she did so much.”