William K. "Kell" Dietz, retired co-owner of an insurance business who helped needy people in his community, died Saturday of a heart attack at his home on Philadelphia Road. The lifelong Rosedale resident was 77.
He retired in 1986 from the William K. Dietz Insurance Agency, now known as Dietz Associates, which he established with his wife, the former Elizabeth T. Michel, in 1959. During retirement, he was a consultant to family-owned businesses.
He was a member of the Dietz family of Rosedale. After graduating in 1933 from Kenwood High School, he played semi-pro baseball and worked on a neighboring farm for $10 a week, often working 13 or more hours a day.
He later became a deliverer for the Home Pie Co. of Baltimore and in 1941 joined the transportation department of the Glenn L. Martin Co. in Middle River.
He also worked in the family poultry business, Dietz Brothers, which was founded in 1928 and, until it was closed in 1992, had a retail stall in the Northeast Market. The wholesale business continues at a Chesaco Park facility.
Mr. Dietz made his home above his office, "a popular gathering place for those needing advice and insurance service," said C. Raymond Dietz Jr., a nephew who lives in Baldwin.
"One thing he truly enjoyed was helping family members or friends select a used car," the nephew recalled. "He'd study the ads in the paper and then make his recommendation. His motto was, 'If you can buy a one- or two-year-old car with low mileage, it was like buying a new one.' He never believed in buying a new car, and he loved helping make the deals."
Mr. Dietz was known for his generosity to neighbors.
"He helped out many a person who was down on his luck. He bent over backwards to help people and never wanted any publicity," the nephew said.
Services were set to take place at 11 a.m. today at the Schimunek Funeral Home, 9705 Belair Road in Perry Hall, with interment in Highview Memorial Gardens.
In addition to his wife of 55 years, survivors include four daughters, Loraine D. Harris and Dolores Weisner, both of Manchester, and Joan Daniels and Diane Occhionero, both of Perry Hall; a brother, C. Raymond Dietz Sr., and a sister, Naomi Berlett, both of Rosedale; four grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and six step-grandchildren.
Memorial donations may be made to the Family and Children Services of Central Maryland, 204 W. Lanvale St., Baltimore 21217.