Lysle N. Brandenburg, 84, owned country store

December 01, 1996|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Lysle Neal Brandenburg, a businessman who ran several ventures, including a country grocery store in Gambrills for 11 years, died Nov. 22 of pneumonia at Genesis Health Care Center in Severna Park. He was 84.

From 1945 to 1956, Mr. Brandenburg, who lived in Glen Burnie, ran Brandenburg's Country Store, a combination convenience shop, post office, hardware store, gas station and butcher shop, where customers came in for everything from pigs' feet to scrub boards to chewing tobacco to gasoline.

"It was really the cutest little place you could imagine," said Susan Fowler, who lived near the small one-room, wood-frame store. "He sold everything you could imagine. It reminded you of something from Mayberry."

The store, in what was then a rural section of Gambrills -- near where Route 3 and Interstate 97 are now -- was the only one for miles.

Brandenburg's was open seven days a week, and Mr. Brandenburg was behind the counter at all times.

The store had a wooden floor, often slippery from grain and sawdust, and burlap bags stacked in an adjacent room.

"I remember a lot of the customers coming in [and] asking for a naked mop [a mop without the head]," said his daughter, Betty Jaworski of Annapolis. "And some of the customers actually wanted the burlap [bags] for clothing after the seed was gone."

Mr. Brandenburg had an honor system and was lenient with customers who forgot their money or had none. He trusted his customers and found chores for poor customers to earn their goods.

"The store had something you don't find now -- honesty on the part of both the proprietor and customer," said Louis Yandely, a longtime Anne Arundel County resident. "He didn't have no video cameras watching customers, and if you said you'd pay him later, you paid him later."

A native of Baltimore, Mr. Brandenburg began full-time work when he was 14 after his parents died. He worked as a grocery store clerk and held several odd jobs, including one as a golf caddy.

"He always wondered why rich people didn't care if they lost their balls so easily when they went into the lake," Mrs. Jaworski said. "So he made a contraption to retrieve golf balls that went into the lake. He'd then paint the balls and sell them."

In 1933, Mr. Brandenburg began work as a manager and later was supervisor at the American Stores. He closed Brandenburg's Country Store in 1956 and a year later opened H. E. Dailey Tobacco Co. Inc., a wholesale tobacco and candy distributorship in Glen Burnie. He remained the company's president until he retired in 1968.

He later worked as a tax assessor in the Anne Arundel County office of the state's Office of Assessments and Taxation until 1978.

Mr. Brandenburg enjoyed coin collecting, horse racing, golf and growing sunflowers. He was past president of the Glen Burnie Kiwanis Club, an officer of the Glen Burnie Recreation Association and a member of the Kuethe Library Board.

A memorial service is scheduled for 1: 30 p.m. Dec. 8 at St. Alban's Episcopal Church, First and A streets in Glen Burnie.

Other survivors include two daughters, Shirley Basler of Belleview, Fla., and Linda Bumgardner of Hanover; five grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Contributions may be made to St. Alban's Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 61, Glen Burnie 21060.

Pub Date: 12/01/96

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