Arthur Sohmer, aide to Agnew, dies at 65Arthur J. Sohmer...


August 28, 1991

Arthur Sohmer, aide to Agnew, dies at 65

Arthur J. Sohmer, who had been a campaign manager, gubernatorial appointments secretary and finally chief of the vice presidential staff of Spiro T. Agnew, died Sunday of lung cancer at his home in Woodstock, N.Y.

Mr. Sohmer, who was 65, was a founding partner in the Learning Tree, a mail-order company dealing in special education materials.

He came to the Baltimore area in 1956 as a salesman for the Union Camp Corp. and continued working for the company until he became appointments secretary for the newly elected Governor Agnew in 1966.

Mr. Sohmer managed the 1962 Agnew campaign for Baltimore County executive after losing his own primary campaign for the House of Delegates, and also managed the 1966 gubernatorial campaign.

Named to the Baltimore County Tax Appeals Court in 1963 by County Executive Agnew, Mr. Sohmer was made chief judge a year later. He resigned in 1966 to take the appointments post in the governor's office.

Mr. Sohmer served as chief of staff to the vice president after the 1968 election.

After Agnew resigned as vice president and pleaded no contest to tax charges in 1973, Mr. Sohmer worked briefly for the General Services Administration and the U.S. Railway Association.

In 1978 Mr. Sohmer, who had lived in Towson and then in Chevy Chase, moved to Woodstock, where he became a partner in the educational materials company.

Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., he served in the Navy during World War II and was a graduate of Lafayette College. Mr. Sohmer received a law degree in 1968 that he earned in night classes at the University of Maryland at Baltimore.

He is survived by his wife, the former E. Winsley Muller; a son, E. Harrison Sohmer of New York City, and a daughter, Mara Sohmer of Severna Park.

A memorial service will be held later.

Sylvia S. Nelson

Former Baltimorean

Services for Sylvia S. Nelson, a former Baltimore resident, will be held at 2 p.m. today at the Congregational Church in Truro, Mass.

Mrs. Nelson, who was 90 and had lived in Truro for more than 20 years, died there Saturday of complications from a series of strokes.

A native of Berkeley, Calif., the former Sylvia Searby was a graduate of the National Cathedral School in Washington. She lived in Baltimore until 1942 while her husband served as editorial writer and correspondent for The Baltimore Sun. She was a member of the Hamilton Street Club.

Her husband, Frederic Nelson, died in 1981.

She was known to her friends for her willingness to house guests, especially refugees during World War II, at her homes.

Mrs. Nelson is survived by a daughter, Alice Furlaud of Paris, France.


Thomas W. Pyles

Howard school official

Thomas Walter Pyles, retired assistant superintendent for administration and finance of the Howard County schools, died Aug. 11 of cancer at a hospital in Winchester, Va.

Dr. Pyles, who was 74 and had lived in Winchester since 1982, retired in 1974 after serving the Howard County schools since 1968.

Earlier, he had worked for the state Department of Education, supervising high schools and heading a group of federal and state school programs.

He joined the state agency in 1959, after starting his career in 1937 as a teacher in Montgomery County, where he also served as vice principal of the Montgomery Blair High School and principal of the Poolesville Elementary School.

He served as an officer in the Navy during World War II.

Born in Poolesville, he was a graduate of Western Maryland College and held a master's degree from Columbia University and a doctorate from the University of Maryland.

He was a member of the Winchester Rotary Club and the Maryland Retired Teachers Association.

His first wife, the former Beatrice Howard, died in 1978.

He is survived by his wife, the former Mary Elizabeth Haskell; a son, Thomas Christopher Pyles of Carrollton, Ga.; a daughter, Anne Howard Pyles Glass of Blacksburg, Va.; a sister, Helen Darby of Silver Spring; and three grandchildren.

Services for Dr. Pyles were held Aug. 14 at Christ Episcopal Church in Winchester, of which he was a member.

Evelyn L. Gordon


Services for Evelyn L. Gordon, a storyteller and former volunteer worker, will be held at noon tomorrow at the Mount Zion United Methodist Church, 3050 Liberty Road.

Mrs. Gordon, who was 83, died Friday at the Golden Touch Care Center of complications to Alzheimer's disease.

She wrote stories based on the activities she saw through the windows of her homes in West Baltimore and told them to friends, family members and children at the Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church, of which she was a former member. She also liked to take bus trips organized by the church.

Also, she did volunteer work at the Eutaw-Marshburn Senior Citizens Center.

The former Evelyn Lewis was a native of Bladenboro, N.C., who came to Baltimore in 1929 after her marriage to Joseph Henry Gordon. Mr. Gordon, a carpenter, died in 1953.

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