Wade L. Wilson, 91, founder of Chesapeake Furniture...

May 19, 1999

Wade L. Wilson, 91, founder of Chesapeake Furniture Co.

Wade L. Wilson, a founder of Chesapeake Furniture Co. whose unique promotions promised customers a ride in his airplane or a cruise on his yacht, died Saturday of heart failure at his home in Pompano Beach, Fla. The former Towson resident was 91.

Mr. Wilson started the furniture company in 1949 in his Dundalk Avenue home and later expanded to stores on Holabird Avenue and in Towson.

He sold the business and Wilson Enterprises Inc. in 1974 and moved to Pompano Beach. At his death, he was chief executive officer and president of Wilson Realty Inc. in Baltimore.

At 55, he earned his pilot's license and flew his Beechcraft Bonanza up and down the East Coast and to Cuba. He survived three crashes, including one in Delaware, where he "happened to crash-land on the property of a du Pont, who called to him, `How nice of you to drop by. Would you care for a cocktail?' " recalled a daughter, Patricia A. Dibert of Towson.

A colorful promoter, Mr. Wilson had contests for those who purchased a room of furniture. The winners could choose a flight over Baltimore or a cruise aboard his yacht, the Miss Chesapeake.

Born in Lexington, Ky., he left school at an early age to work on the family farm. He came to Baltimore in 1942 and worked as a carpenter at Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Sparrows Point shipyard.

He was a member of the National Retail Furniture Association, Optimists International, the Dundalk Chamber of Commerce and the YMCA.

He had belonged to Wilson United Methodist Church in Baltimore and Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Pompano Beach.

In 1929, he married Edna Benhase, who died in 1987.

A memorial service was set for today in Pompano Beach.

He is survived by another daughter, Ramona M. Gettings of Phoenix, Ariz.; five grandchildren; and his companion, Star Cochran.

Mary Alice Cadden, 63 Allstate office manager

Mary Alice Cadden, a retired office manager, died Thursday of cancer at North Arundel Hospital. She was 63 and lived in Pasadena.

Until her 1995 retirement, she was office manager for Allstate Insurance in Columbia.

Born in Baltimore, the former Mary Alice Falter was a graduate of the Institute of Notre Dame.

In 1955, she married Gilbert J. Cadden, a federal employee, who died in 1997.

She enjoyed painting, crafts, travel, genealogy and teaching computer classes at the Pascal Center.

A Mass for Mrs. Cadden was offered Monday.

She is survived by two sons, John G. Cadden of White Marsh and James Cadden of Glen Burnie; four daughters, Christina Jenkins of Columbia, Jacqueline Henderson of Pasadena, Teresa Yelnosky of Columbia and Jennifer Day of Centreville; her mother, Adele Powell of Edwardsville, Va.; and 12 grandchildren.

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