Charles Goodspeed Lord, investment banker, diesCharles...

January 09, 1992|By David Michael Ettlin

Charles Goodspeed Lord, investment banker, dies

Charles Goodspeed Lord, a retired investment banker who led the battle for reform of Maryland's tax assessment system as a one-term state delegate half a century ago, died Tuesday from a kidney infection at the Broadmead retirement community in Cockeysville.

A memorial service for the 86-year-old Mr. Lord will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. David's Episcopal Church, 4700 Roland Ave.

FOR THE RECORD - The original published version of this obituary contained an error. This archived version has been corrected.

Mr. Lord was born in Roland Park, the third and youngest child of real estate and stock broker Henry Murdoch Lord and Engalina Wilhelmina Van den Berg Lord and descended, on his father's side, from an early English settler in Massachusetts.

His childhood was spent largely in Cockeysville, where his family lived from 1907 to about 1919 at "Iona," a small farm along Shawan and Western Run roads -- now the site of an Embassy Suites hotel.

He attended the old four-room Cockeysville Public School through eighth grade, graduated from Boys' Latin School in 1923 and attended the Johns Hopkins University -- where he was elected president of the junior class -- and its old evening school, McCoy College. He also was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.

Mr. Lord began his career in 1927, working as a quarry laborer and an early employee of Black & Decker before becoming a representative later that year of Baker, Watts & Co., stockbrokers and investment bankers.

He remained with the firm for nearly six decades -- a period interrupted only by Army service in World War II from 1942 to 1946. He was assigned to domestic intelligence and discharged with the rank of major. He was a member of the Maryland National Guard until retiring as a colonel in 1957.

A well-known member of Baltimore's financial community with long ties to Baltimore County, Mr. Lord was invited in 1938 to "sweeten up" the Democratic ticket of political chieftain H. Streett Baldwin in what was then a countywide election for six House of Delegate seats.

Mr. Lord, unwilling to compromise his integrity for the sake of political office, agreed to run -- and won election with a mere $31 in campaign expenses -- after the county pols agreed to his unusual conditions:

He would neither make nor solicit any campaign contributions, would not speak at any campaign function, would not support any legislation unless he actually favored it, and the entire ticket would back a plank on one of his major interests -- property tax assessment reform.

At the time, property assessments were controlled by county commissioners. They appointed friends or allies as assessors, who were paid a commission of $2 per $1,000 in valuation -- thus encouraging high figures. Then the county commissioners themselves decided appeals.

After getting the powerful Mr. Baldwin to back reform, Delegate Lord pushed through legislation to abolish the fee system for paying assessors and -- named to a special gubernatorial commission -- sought to take away the power of county commissioners to reduce assessments.

Many of the changes pushed by the young delegate were incorporated in the state Tax Commission, a forerunner to the state Department of Assessments and Taxation.

Mr. Lord's formal political career ended with his entry into the war effort. When he returned to civilian life, Mr. Lord focused his ,, energies more on his investment banking career -- a business in which he was proud of helping families not only with financial matters but their problems as well.

"A week doesn't go by," said his son, former Maryland Deputy Attorney Henry R. Lord, "that somebody doesn't stop me on the street and tell me how much my father helped them." He was a former board member of the Waverly Press, the Baltimore Equitable Society and American Life Insurance Co., and president in 1958 of the Bond Club of Baltimore.

He was over the years a board member of the Arthritis Foundation, Maryland Tuberculosis Association and Legal Aid Bureau; a member of the vestry at St. John's Church in Butler and St. David's in Roland Park; and a member of the Bachelor's Cotillon, Elkridge Club and 12:30 Club.

Mr. Lord's wife, the former Muriel Gallagher, whom he met through family contacts on a trip to Quebec, died in 1982 after nearly 45 years of marriage.

Survivors include two sons, Henry Robbins Lord and Charles Van den Berg Lord, both of Baltimore, and five grandchildren.

The family suggested memorial donations to the Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust, 611 Park Ave., Baltimore 21201; or the Maryland Food Bank, 241 N. Franklintown Road, Baltimore 21223. A memorial service for Shannon Walters Smith, a nurse who served as coordinator of geropsychiatric services for Meridian Healthcare, will be held at 2 p.m. today at the Maryland Presbyterian Church, 1105 Providence Road in Towson.

Miss Smith, who was 44, died Dec. 31 at her Baltimore home of complications to diabetes.

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