Harry Orrick Buzby, 81, raconteur, executive, SSA analyst

October 11, 1997|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Harry Orrick Buzby, a raconteur whose amiable antics and joie de vivre defined his life, died Tuesday of heart failure at his Homeland residence. He was 81.

Mr. Buzby, a retired food company executive and Social Security Administration analyst, placed a high value on outdoor physical activities, collecting books and telling stories.

He took up skiing on a whim when he was 55 and continued to pursue the sport with vigor until he was 80.

He was a member of the Baltimore Ski Club, and when he wasn't abroad or in the West, he skied each week of the season at the Round Top resort in Pennsylvania.

He also enjoyed sailing and rowing until he was in his late 70s, pursuing both sports each summer in Biddeford Pool, Maine, where he vacationed.

He collected jazz piano and big band recordings, and painted seascapes and still lifes.

Born in Woodmere, N.Y., he lived in Cincinnati briefly before he moved to Baltimore, where he graduated from Gilman School in 1934. He earned his bachelor's degree from Princeton University in 1938.

During World War II, he served in the Pacific aboard a destroyer and was discharged as a lieutenant commander in 1945.

After working briefly in New York City, he returned to Baltimore in 1945 and became a food broker for Crosse & Blackwell. He retired in the mid-1960s, then became a senior Social Security analyst assigned to Medicare until he retired for a second time in 1979.

A man who relished books, gentility and fine conversation, he liked to sit in a favorite wing chair in his library with a glass of Early Times bourbon and a maduro cigar.

Once seated, he regaled guests and family with stories of the foibles and follies of old Baltimore society or discussed the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Paris before World War II.

"He was a well-read conservative person who always had a book in his hand," recalled Alfred Woods of Baltimore, an associate at the Social Security Administration and a longtime friend.

Mr. Buzby had been a member of the Elkridge Club and belonged to the Bachelors Cotillon and the Mount Vernon Club.

His marriage to the former Ellenor Brigham Colgate ended in divorce.

He was a communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., where services are planned at 11 a.m. today in the chapel.

He is survived by a son, Stockton Buzby of Baltimore; two daughters, Ellenor B. Jarrett of Stevenson and Mary Scott Buzby Weber of Rodgers Forge; four grandchildren; and three step-grandchildren.

Pub Date: 10/11/97

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