Lucy McIntyre's dreams will live on despite her tragic death

April 29, 1991|By Michelle Singletary | Michelle Singletary,Evening Sun Staff

The last thing Lucy Martin McIntyre did before she was stabbed to death last week was make arrangements to have a rowhouse in her Govans neighborhood repaired.

It was what she had loved doing for the last 32 years -- taking care of the community where she and her husband raised six children, five boys and a girl, all of whom are grown.

"While most women carry cosmetics in their purse, Lucy would have screws and a hammer in hers," said Alice Bevans, a close friend and vice-president of the Richnor Springs Neighborhood Association.

Just as important to Govans, McIntyre was instrumental in getting an innovative housing development for low- to moderate-income families built in her northeast community. That development, Alameda Place, is now a national model copied in eight other cities.

Memorial services for McIntyre will be held at noon tomorrow at First Baptist Church at 525 N. Caroline Street.

"In the city, all you hear about is the drugs in the neighborhoods but Lucy represented another side," said Joyce E. Leviton, chief of the district planning section for the city's Department of Planning. Leviton, who works with community associations, had known McIntyre for more than 11 years.

Leviton said McIntyre hounded landlords, trying to get them to repair their houses. She was known for rounding up neighborhood children to sweep the streets and remove trash and would not hesitate to mow a neighbors' lawn or trim the shrubs.

"In the city, in order to keep a neighborhood strong and valuable, you need people like Lucy. She was a leader. We've lost a legend and we are going to be hurt because of it," Leviton said.

One of McIntyre's latest projects was raising funds to get a city-owned vacant lot behind her home cleaned. She had dreamed of turning it into a small park.

She never lived to see the project finished, but the Richnor Springs association plans to collect donations to create the park in her memory.

McIntyre, 63, was killed in her kitchen April 23. According to police, just before the stabbing, McIntyre was working out details with a handyman to make repairs to a house in the 4700 block of Alhambra Ave., a few blocks from her own Richwood Avenue home.

McIntyre had purchased the house this year with the intention of giving it to one of her children or renting it to a low-income family.

Police have charged the handyman, James Davis, of the 4200 block of Oakford Ave., with first-degree murder. Davis is being held without bail at the Baltimore City Jail.

Leviton said that in a city known for the character of its neighborhoods, McIntyre was known for her tireless efforts to keep Govans a nice place to live and raise a family. She and her former husband, Charles T. McIntyre, were one of many families who had lived in the neighborhood for 30 years. Recently, McIntyre lived alone.

She also had been president of Richnor Springs Neighborhood Association, one of the city's most active community groups, since 1984.

"Her key to living was loving, caring, sharing and trusting," said Bevans. "Two things I did before I went to bed was say my prayers and say good night to Lucy."

Bevans said McIntyre often talked about her family, especially her children. She was looking forward to the wedding this year of her youngest son, Kevin. It will be the first marriage among her six children, who range in age from 30 to 39. She was also proud that her second son, Ronald, had been promoted to major in the U.S. Air Force.

"She was proud of all her children," Bevans said.

Bevans said McIntyre was committed to seeing improvements to the community because she saw her time as an investment. She also had hoped that one or more of her children would moved back to Govans.

She got excited about any potential improvements to the neighborhood, Bevans said.

One of the last things the two women talked about was that McIntyre had finally persuaded an absentee landlord to make repairs to an unoccupied house just a few doors from her home.

"She was really happy that she had gotten the owner to fix up the house," said Wilbert Bevans, business manager of the Richnor Springs association. "She was the kind of person that got things done. That's what was good about her."

While some neighborhoods fought low-cost homes, McIntyre welcomed programs that gave people a chance to own a home or live in affordable housing.

Her only daughter, Karen V. McIntyre, said her mother's favorite hymn said, "If I could help somebody, then my life will not be in vain."

Despite heavy opposition from segments of the community, Lucy McIntyre helped establish the Mutual Housing Association, a non-profit organization that operates a 97-unit housing development called Alameda Place, due to be completed this spring.

The project, approved by the City Council in 1981, was a new concept in providing housing to low- to moderate-income families.

The development, at Cold Spring Lane and The Alameda, is unique in that residents pay membership fees ranging from $2,300 to $3,200.

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