Fun night for 'Louie' on 81st birthday

March 15, 1994|By John W. Frece | John W. Frece,Sun Staff Writer

What do you give a tax collector on his 81st birthday?

For Maryland's longtime comptroller, Louis L. Goldstein, the gifts were many last night -- an autographed team basketball from the NCAA tournament-bound University of Maryland Terrapins, a letter from the president of the United States and pictures of the honoree himself in a big frame.

But most of all, you throw him a big party with an 8-foot-long birthday cake and invite the entire General Assembly to attend -- which only makes sense because you're holding it in the chamber of the House of Delegates. And just before the governor speaks, just before a congressman sings the tax collector's praises, you bring in the University of Maryland marching band. Mr. Goldstein has been an elected public servant in Maryland (except for four years during World War II) since 1938, and has been the comptroller since 1958.

"Tonight, I feel like I did when I waltzed into this chamber in January 1939," the always ebullient Mr. Goldstein said, his blue eyes sparkling, "I was like a young colt, not broken yet."

An array of Maryland dignitaries and a standing-room-only audience assembled for the tribute.

"He has been a mentor to many of us," gushed Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. "He's been a father, a husband, grandfather, patriot in time of war, friend, neighbor. This is Mr. Maryland."

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