BALTIMORE LOST one of its most interesting citizens last weekend and I lost one of my oldest and dearest friends.
Richard "Dick" Byrd was buried today, and with him thousands of memories. He touched so many lives in his roles as a lawyer, city councilman, writer, founder of dinner theaters, actor, radio talk-show host, director, producer, father of Cindy and Rick and husband to Shyrl. To me he was the first friend I turned to for help when I was asked to write a people column for the News American many years ago. Not only did he help build my confidence, but he practically wrote my earliest columns. He was also the kind of friend who stayed with me in an emergency room nearly all night with one of my sick children.
I could go on and on, but I'm sure those of you who ever met Richard, know that we lost a true "Baltimore character," someone not afraid to be himself.
Who will be the Jos. A. Bank "Man and Woman of the Year"? have the answer to that on Feb. 23 when the winners are announced at a Grand Finale party at Banks at Kenilworth Park. Jos. Bank and the Leukemia Society of America are hoping to raise $75,000 for the Society from this competition.
I stopped by the "Kick-Off" party for contestants at the Kenilworth store and was greeted by Ed Hale, chairman of the Bank of Baltimore and owner of the Baltimore Blast, who got things off to a good start with a $5,000 donation. He's chairing the fund-raiser with the help of committee members Margaret McManus, Dennis Rasmussen, Ray Piechocki, Sande Riesett, Gretchen Ellis, Dr. Kim Hammond and Ted Olson.
Other guests with whom I chatted were Pat Dodd, Leukemia Society executive director, Jos. Bank execs Ted Olson, Martin Ferrara, Jill Heptinstall and Charlotte Pressman, who did a smashing job catering the party. By the way, her company is now called The Grand Caterers and is housed in the Baltimore Grand.
Among the 25 contestants vying to raise the most money in six weeks are Thomas Scott, Bank of Baltimore; Howe Burch, W.B. Donor; Mark Dubin, J.Brown Jewelers; Jonathon Legg, Legg Mason; and Carla Pifer, Willis Corroon. The winners will win a $1,000 gift certificate from Jos. Bank and their faces will adorn five area billboards.
Mayor Kurt Schmoke has put together an illustrious panel to judge the first ARTSCAPE Poster Competition to commemorate a "Decade Dedicated to the Arts." Jurors are Jerry Dadds, graphic artist/illustrator and co-founder of Eucalyptus Studio; Oletha DeVane, artist/curator; and Arnold Lehman, director of the Baltimore Museum of Art.
They will select three finalists from slide submissions, who will then create poster artwork. Finalists will receive $200 and the winner receives $1,000. The competition is open to visual artists residing in Maryland and Washington, but the slides must be in by Jan. 23. Call 396-4575 for an application.