Leroy O. Dyett, a Baltimore mortician who built his Liberty Heights Avenue business into one of the city's best-known funeral homes, died Thursday of heart failure at his West Baltimore home.
Mr. Dyett, 69, had operated the Leroy O. Dyett and Son Funeral Home in Northwest Baltimore since 1982. From the mid-1950s until he opened his business, he was co-owner of the Morton and Dyett Funeral Home in West Baltimore.
One of Mr. Dyett's finest qualities, friends and relatives said, was his work ethic: Not only did he show up seven days a week, but he was usually the first person at the funeral parlor and the last one to leave.
It was a philosophy he passed on to his son, who followed him into the family business.
"I remember once when I started working here, he said he wanted to introduce me to someone," remembered Leroy O. Dyett Jr. of Randallstown. "I thought I was going to meet someone important or famous. But he took me in the back and said, 'I want you to meet Mr. Mop and Mrs. Bucket. I want you to meet work.' "
Known for his generosity, Mr. Dyett often donated flowers and sometimes provided caskets and other services at reduced costs to needy clients. Outside of work, he was known to load his pockets with quarters and dole them out to children in poor neighborhoods.
"He was very, very philanthropic," said Frank Conaway of Baltimore, a former member of the Maryland House of Delegates and a longtime friend. "I don't ever remember seeing him angry. If he was, he could cover it up pretty good."
Herbert Nutter, a longtime friend and a fellow mortician, remembered Mr. Dyett as an outgoing person who was involved in the community "He served a lot of people very well," Mr. Nutter said.
A native of New York City, Mr. Dyett was in the Army from 1951 to 1953, during the Korean War. He later earned an undergraduate degree from Loyola College and the American Academy of Mortuary Sciences in New York.
Mr. Dyett was a longtime member of Emmanuel Christian Community Church in West Baltimore.
Services will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at New Shiloh Baptist Church, 2100 N. Monroe St.
Mr. Dyett married three times. In addition to his son, he is survived by two daughters, April Stepney and Leann Dyett, both of Baltimore; two brothers, James Dyett and Lewis Dyett, also of Baltimore; two sisters, Esther Richardson of Sparks and Mary Eason of Baltimore; and two grandchildren.
Sarah W. Alexander, 87, portrait, landscape painter
Sarah W. Alexander, an artist and former resident of Homeland and Frederick, died Monday from complications of pneumonia at Northwest Hospital Center. She was 87.
Mrs. Alexander, a resident of the Fairhaven Retirement Community in Sykesville since 1980, painted until the time of her death.
Accomplished at portraits and landscapes, she worked in a variety of media, including oils, watercolors, charcoal, pastels and pencil.
The former Sarah Wheeler was born in Sonora, Calif. She attended a number of art schools, including the Maryland Institute, College of Art, where she studied under French oil painter Jacques Maroger.
She took an active role in services at the Fairhaven Chapel, 7200 Third Ave. in Sykesville, where a memorial service will be held at 10: 30 a.m. today.
Survivors include her husband of 67 years, Robert B. Alexander, a retired Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. executive; two sons, William T. Alexander of Hedgesville, W.Va., and Joseph H. Alexander of Asheville, N.C.; a brother, Kenneth B. Wheeler of Tuxedo, N.C.; and two grandchildren.
Neil J. Friedman, 57, political reporter, lawyer
Neal J. Friedman, a communications lawyer in Washington for the last 14 years and former political reporter for Baltimore television stations, died Wednesday of respiratory failure at George Washington University Hospital. The Rockville resident was 57.
Mr. Friedman began his career in 1964 as a reporter and news commentator at WBAL-TV, where he worked for 13 years. In 1976, he became moderator for "Maryland News Wrap," a state political review program aired on Maryland Public Television.
In 1979, he went to work in Washington for WJLA-TV as a news producer for "Seven on Your Side." While attending American University Law School, where he earned his law degree in 1984, he was deputy director of the office of public affairs for the Federal Trade Commission.
He was an associate at Pepper & Corrazini in Washington for 11 years, before joining the Washington firm Dickstein, Shapiro, Morin & Oshinsky, LLP, as counsel to the communications group, in January.
Born and raised in Northwest Baltimore, Mr. Friedman was a 1957 City College graduate and earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from Pennsylvania State University in 1961.
At his death, he was an adjunct professor of communications law at American University.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Sol Levinson & Bros., 8900 Reisterstown Road in Pikesville.
He is survived by his wife of 35 years, the former Judith Friedman; a son, Jay Friedman of Rockville; a daughter, Jane Schley of Charlotte, N.C.; his father, Samuel J. Friedman of Baltimore; and two grandchildren.