S&L executive George R. Soth dies

October 21, 1990

Services for George R. Soth, a savings and loan association executive who watched over the growth of South Baltimore for more than 60 years, will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the McCully Funeral Home, 130 E. Fort Ave.

Mr. Soth, a longtime Baltimore resident, died Thursday at the Keswick Home after a brief illness. He celebrated his 100th birthday anniversary June 18.

Mr. Soth was born in San Francisco in 1890 and moved to the Baltimore area with his family in 1893. As a boy, he grew up in Perry Hall and worked on his father's farm, making his first business deals at his father's stall in the old Broadway Market in Fells Point.

In 1913 he moved from the farm to the city, taking a job as a streetcar conductor with the United Railway and Electric Co., a forerunner of the Mass Transit Administration. He had a faultless memory for routes and transfer points and moved up the ladder into management positions, retiring in 1953 with the title of superintendent of transportation.

In 1926, while still with the transit company, he became a director of three small neighborhood savings and loans, the Light Street Saving and Building Association, the War-Win Building Association and the Spring Garden Building and Savings Association, all of which operated out of an office at 807 Light St.

He became vice president, secretary and finally president, the position held since 1953, nurturing Light Street's conservative growth over the last 64 years.

He presided over five savings and loan mergers, most recently with the Hanover Building Association and Weekly Federal Savings and Loan, and moved the offices of the association -- renamed Bay Federal Savings and Loan Association -- to its current location at 1230 Light St.

During his years in South Baltimore, Mr. Soth watched its residents undergo wars, depressions and savings and loan crises and witnessed the renovation of the neighborhood and the rebirth of Federal Hill. There were few houses in the neighborhood that he had not at one time or another appraised or financed, and he often reminisced about particular homes and the families who lived in them.

Mr. Soth's wife, the former Bessie Hilditch, died in 1962. He is survived by four nieces and two nephews.

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