Howard G. Crist Jr., 75, active in GOP politics

September 09, 1993|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Staff Writer

Howard G. Crist Jr., a Howard County businessman who was active in Republican politics, died of a stroke Aug. 25 at Harbor Hospital Center in Baltimore. He was 75.

Mr. Crist's last campaign for Howard County executive in 1974 resulted in a cliff-hanger election that Democrat Edward L. Cochran won, 12,847 to 11,235.

In 1962, Mr. Crist was chairman of the Howard County State Republican Central Committee when the first all-Republican Board of County Commissioners in 100 years was elected.

"He was undaunted by the fact that the Republicans in Howard County were a minority," recalled Louise Hawkins, who met Mr. Crist in 1955 when she began participating in local Republican politics.

"When he ran against my brother-in-law, Jim Clark, for the Maryland state Senate, I didn't know whether to vote for my brother-in-law or Howard. I don't remember who I voted for now; I just wiped it from my mind. He was such an affable man who really enjoyed politics and civic affairs."

Mr. Crist also served as chairman of the Howard County Parkland and Watershed Board and of the Columbia Commission, which studied the impact of the new town on the rural county.

He and his wife, the former Gertrude A. Hartman, founded Farm and Home Service Inc., a Southern States Cooperative Service Agency, in 1951. They sold the business in 1978.

Mr. Crist also was president of Howard Cable TV in 1977.

Born and reared in Glenelg, he attended public schools. After receiving a bachelor's degree in agriculture education from the University of Maryland at College Park in 1940, he worked for Southern States at its headquarters in Richmond, Va. where he progressed from district manager to director of feed distribution.

He entered the Navy in 1943 and served in the Philippines. He TTC was discharged in 1945 with the rank of lieutenant junior grade.

Mr. Crist was a member of the University of Maryland's Presidents Club, the Chancellor's Advisory Committee and the university's Board of Trustees. He was also president of the university's Alumni Association International and its Agricultural Alumni Association. He was a director of the Terrapin Club and of the University of Maryland Foundation. In 1977, he founded the Abram Z. Gottwals Award, which honors a graduate of the agriculture school.

He also served as president of the Greater Howard County Chamber of Commerce and was a director of the Maryland State Chamber of Commerce from 1975 to 1981.

Fond of traveling to Europe, Mr. Crist was also an avid golfer. He was a founding member of Hobbit's Glen Golf Club in Columbia and also was a member of the Turf Valley Country Club. He also maintained a winter home at Poincina, Fla.

Services were held Aug. 28 at St. John's Episcopal Church in Ellicott City.

In addition to his wife of 52 years, he is survived by two sons, Howard G. Crist III of Boise, Idaho, and Douglas F. Crist of Ellicott City; and three grandchildren.

The family suggested memorial contributions to the University of Maryland Foundation, 3300 Metzerott Road, Adelphi, Md. 20783.

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