Wilmer S. O'Brien, 78, food service manager, tenorWilmer...

April 24, 1996

Wilmer S. O'Brien, 78, food service manager, tenor

Wilmer S. O'Brien, a retired food service manager and longtime tenor soloist at Wilson Memorial United Methodist Church in Baltimore, died Sunday of heart failure at Perry Point Veterans Hospital in Perryville. The Bel Air resident was 78.

Mr. O'Brien retired in 1982 from Martin Marietta Corp. in Middle River, where he had been employed for 31 years in food service management. Earlier, he headed his family's interior decorating business.

Known as "Obie," he was born in Baltimore and attended City College.

He began singing as a child and performed at the old Hippodrome and Century theaters. When he was 16, was selected by Broadway producer Gus Edwards for his New York City quintet that sang in theaters around the country.

During World War II, he enlisted in the 104th Observation Squadron of the Maryland National Guard and after his unit was activated, he was sent to Mitchel Field, N.Y.

While there he was assigned to the Broadway production of "Winged Victory" that featured such notables as Moss Hart, Carl Reiner, Peter Lind Hayes and Steve Reeves.

From 1950 to 1969, Mr. O'Brien was tenor soloist at Wilson Memorial United Methodist Church at Charles Street and University Parkway and the denomination's Emory Grove campground in Glyndon, where he had a summer home.

He was a member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, the Hibernian Society of Baltimore and the Irish Heritage Society. He also was active in Masonic affairs.

He was a volunteer at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, the Baltimore Veterans Hospital and Fallston General Hospital.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at McComas Funeral Home, 1317 Cokesbury Road in Abingdon.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, the former Henrietta H. Van Sant; a son, James R. O'Brien of Bel Air; two daughters, Wilma E. Bender of Belcamp and Jeanne Martin of Abingdon; a sister, Audrey M. Gordon of Towson; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Annie B. Johnson, a domestic who enjoyed sewing -- especially making fancy dresses -- and cooking, died Thursday of cancer at her Northeast Baltimore home. She was 81.

Born Annie Goss in Williamson, N.C., she married Joseph Johnson in 1932. He died in 1960 and she moved to Baltimore two years later to be close to her sisters.

After moving here, she first lived near Broadway in East Baltimore, then on Lake Avenue in Northeast Baltimore. She worked as a domestic for many years.

Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. today at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, 4634 Gunther Ave.

She is survived by a daughter, Annie Mae; two sisters, Rosa Smallwood and Pearl Wimbush; and two granddaughters. All are of Baltimore.

Louis O. Ford, 78, foreman at BGE, outdoorsman

Louis O. Ford, a retired Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. foreman and an outdoorsman, died of cancer Sunday at his Parkville home. He was 78.

Mr. Ford joined BGE in 1936 and retired in 1985.

Born in Brooklyn, he attended city schools and was a 1935 graduate of City College. He attended the University of Baltimore at night and earned a bachelor's degree in business and industry management in 1963.

He had a cabin in Susquehanna Trails, Pa., where he delighted in teaching his grandchildren outdoor skills such as building a campfire, said his son, Murray L. Ford of Parkville.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. today at Johnson Funeral Home, 8521 Loch Raven Blvd., Towson.

Other survivors include his wife of 56 years, the former Margaret Lear; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Pub Date: 4/24/96

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