Our annual Requiem list, a roster of those well-known Baltimoreans we lost in the past year, always gets my attention.
As in years past, there are some people on the list this year who played supporting roles both in local lore and in national history, be it in politics, civil rights, science, sports, or other fields.
Among them, Judy Agnew was the wife of Spiro, Baltimore County executive, Maryland governor, and U.S. Vice President (whose tenure ended in disgrace). Wesley Brown was the U.S. Naval Academy’s first black graduate in 1949, who served in two wars and retired as a lieutenant commander. And in the world of baseball, Orioles general manager (and later, Hall of Famer) Lee MacPhail created a farm system that was credited with incubating the critical core of 1966’s World Series-winning team.
And who did I know personally on this list? Art Modell, one of the most influential owners in the history of the NFL, was a good friend of mine (though his name in Cleveland was forever mud when he moved his franchise from there to here). Art and his wife, Pat, were neighbors when I lived in Laurelford years ago, and I admired them both. Another on the list, which was particularly sad for me, was Patty Rouse, widow of Columbia’s James Rouse, founder of the Rouse Company and a nationally acclaimed real-estate developer. Patty, a philanthropist in her own right, was my Orioles-game buddy who sat a few rows behind me.
But one whose loss I think is underestimated is Greg Barnhill, who died suddenly in September. He was a successful investment banker by day, but was probably more widely known for his support of worthy causes: He was a board member for the Maryland Historical Society, a board member of MedStar Harbor Hospital, co-chair of the Tocqueville Society of the United Way of Central Maryland, and headed up Ocean Race Chesapeake, the team of local organizers who submitted the winning bids to bring three Volvo Ocean Race competitions to Baltimore and Annapolis.
We’ll miss them all.