Quackenbush Sr., 73, founder of Pride of Baltimore

W. B.

April 12, 1996|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

William Brewster "Bruce" Quackenbush Sr., a retired Commercial Credit Corp. official and a founding member of the Pride of Baltimore Inc., died of heart failure Wednesday at Mercy Medical Center. He was 73.

He was one of the seven founding members in 1980 of Pride of Baltimore Inc. and was a board member and treasurer until 1993, when he resigned because a son, W. Bruce Quackenbush Jr. of Timonium, was made executive director.

"It was not uncommon to see Bruce in London or San Francisco on the docks, meeting the Pride and its crew, whom he loved," said Christopher C. Hartman, secretary of the Pride of Baltimore Inc. "He gave an enormous amount of time to the Pride in order to make it all work," Mr. Hartman said.

He described Mr. Quackenbush as "impossible to dislike. He was a man who was a gentle human being."

Jan Miles, captain of the Pride since 1981, said in a radio message yesterday from the Azores, "Bruce Sr. never played politics and was always straightforward. He remained one of my favorite supporters of Pride Inc."

In a tribute to Mr. Quackenbush, the crew and passengers of the Pride II fired a cannon at sunset yesterday.

He was born in Florida, N.Y., and was raised in Middletown, N.Y., and attended schools there.

During World War II, he was an Army Air Corps pilot assigned to the 8th Air Force, flying B-24s over Germany. He was discharged with the rank of lieutenant.

In 1947, he earned a bachelor's degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and began his business career working in Chicago for the Hoover Co., manufacturers of vacuum cleaners, then worked for Standard Oil Co. He joined Commercial Credit Corp. in 1957 and moved to Baltimore.

From 1970 to 1976 he was treasurer of Control Data in Minneapolis, which took over Commercial Credit. He returned to Baltimore as a senior vice president of Commercial Credit and retired in 1987.

His directorships included the Chicago Faucet Co. and the Warrenville (Ill.) Bank & Trust Co.

He was a member of the Union League in Chicago and the Center Club in Baltimore.

Mr. Quackenbush and his wife, the former Hope Donaghue, whom he married in 1949, lived in an apartment on Mount Vernon Place that overlooks the Washington Monument.

Mrs. Quackenbush was a founder of the City Fair in 1970 and was managing director of the Baltimore Center for the Performing Arts from 1976 until 1993. She often used her husband as a sounding board on the quality of shows she was contemplating bringing to Baltimore.

"If Bruce liked a play in London or New York, I knew it would play well in Baltimore," she said in a 1993 interview in The Evening Sun.

Mr. Quackenbush enjoyed spending weekends at an 8-acre getaway in Monkton where he gardened.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Second Presbyterian Church, Stratford Road and St. Paul Street.

Other survivors include two other sons, Mark R. Quackenbush of Catonsville and L. Scott Quackenbush of Miami; a brother, Eugene J. Quackenbush of Waterford, Mich.; a sister, Janet Wilcox of Linn, Mo.; and six grandchildren.

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