Morton S. Busick, 92, Baltimore hotelier and vice president of family business

January 09, 1999|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Morton S. Busick, a well-know Baltimore hotelier and former vice president of the Lord Baltimore Hotel Co., died Sunday of pneumonia at Union Memorial Hospital. He was 92 and a resident of Roland Park Place.

Mr. Busick was the last surviving member of his generation of a family that had been associated with Baltimore hotels since the early part of the century. His father, Harry Busick, owned the Caswell Hotel at Baltimore and Hanover streets, which opened a year after the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904. His other holdings included the New Howard Hotel and the Hotel Condon.

Harry Busick closed the Caswell Hotel in 1927 and erected on the site the 17-story Lord Baltimore Hotel, with accommodations for 1,200 guests. When the hotel opened in December 1928, Gov. Albert C. Ritchie was the first to sign the hotel's register.

A major local construction projects of the 1920s, the hotel was for years the center of convention activities, major dinners, banquets and social events in the city.

Morton S. Busick, a former longtime Guilford resident, was born and raised in Roland Park. He was a 1925 graduate of the Gilman School.

He assisted his father in overseeing the construction of the Lord Baltimore Hotel and, after earning his bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia in 1930, joined his brother H. Nelson Busick, who became president of the hotel, and his other brother, Howard M. Busick, who was also a vice president of the Lord Baltimore Hotel Co., in the business.

Mr. Busick was the hotel's purchasing agent until 1960, when the hotel was sold to Herbert R. Weissberg, of New York City.

"He was a very congenial fellow who preferred to stay in the background," said Kemp C. Gatling, a noted Baltimore hotel man who was a longtime manager of the Emerson and Stafford hotels.

"As purchasing agent, he was always in a downstairs office and was in charge of buying food, meat, liquor, furnishings -- everything that was needed in a hotel right on down to the ashtrays in the lobby," said Mr. Gatling, a Rodgers Forge resident.

During World War II, Mr. Busick was a captain in the Army, supervising luxury hotels in Florida that were used to house servicemen.

"He often recounted many humorous stories of battles among generals and senior officers trying to land the best penthouse apartments for themselves," said Randolph W. Brinton, a longtime friend.

In the 1940s, Mr. Busick married Phyllis Young, who died in 1995. The couple enjoyed traveling, sailing and hunting on the Eastern Shore.

An accomplished woodworker, Mr. Busick donated his extensive collection of woodworking equipment to Roland Park Place.

He was a member of the Maryland Club, the Baltimore Country Club and the L'Hirondelle Club.

He was a longtime communicant of St. David Episcopal Church in Roland Park, where a memorial service was held yesterday.

Mr. Busick is survived by a niece, Beverly Peason of Seattle.

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