Walker Lewis, 95, corporate attorney and author of two biographies

H. H.

May 21, 1999|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

H. H. Walker Lewis, former general solicitor for the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. and author of two biographies and numerous monographs, died Wednesday of heart failure at Roland Park Place retirement community. He was 95.

Mr. Lewis, a former longtime resident of St. Johns Road in Roland Park, moved to the retirement community in 1991.

The corporate attorney, who specialized in tax law and rate cases, joined C&P's legal department in Washington in 1948 and retired in 1967.

Earlier, he was an attorney for the United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co.

He began his career at Piper, Carey and Hall in Baltimore after he graduated from Harvard Law School in 1928.

Mr. Lewis's avocation was history.

The native of Hoboken, N.J., was directly descended from Fielding Lewis, the husband of George Washington's sister, Betty.

He was also descended from Martha Washington, Revolutionary War Gen. Hugh Mercer, Confederate Gen. Henry Harrison Walker, and John C. Stevens, for whom the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken is named.

He wrote histories of the Hamilton Street Club and Rule Day Club and contributed to the Maryland Law Review for years.

In 1961, the Atlantic Monthly published his account of Franklin Farms, the house at Franklin Street near Charles Street where John Philip Hill challenged Prohibition by growing apples and grapes under exemptions granted to farmers and making ciders and wines.

Hill successfully defended his farming activities in federal court.

For years, Mr. Lewis spent his free time researching the lives of Roger Brooke Taney, former chief justice of the United States, and Daniel Webster, the famous statesman and orator.

While riding commuter trains to and from Washington, he reduced his notes into longhand manuscripts.

In 1965, Houghton-Mifflin published Mr. Lewis' "Without Fear or Favor, A Life of Chief Justice Taney" and four years later, "Speak for Yourself, Daniel."

He wrote "The United States District Court of Maryland," a history of the court that was published by the Maryland State Bar Association in 1977. A reviewer praised it as "enlightening and stimulating."

"He was a very gifted writer with a keen sense of humor," said Towson attorney Arthur W. Machen Jr. "He was a raconteur, a great story-teller and a real fixture in the life of Baltimore."

James H. Bready, The Sun book columnist and retired Evening Sun editorial writer, said, "There is a word for Walker Lewis and it is `gentleman,' and it is a word that is seldom used today."

Mr. Bready recalled his "dry wit and polished manner" and "elegance."

Henry R. Lord, an attorney with Piper & Marbury and a friend for many years, said Mr. Lewis "was a very broad-gauged, liberal-minded person" who had the "uncanny ability to write in an extraordinarily accurate yet not ponderous manner. He always had a mischievous touch and a wonderful sense of humor, and his prose reflected a sprightly manner."

Mr. Lewis graduated from Princeton University in 1925 and served in the Army Air Forces as a member of the judge advocate general's staff during World War II.

Fit and vigorous, with a ruddy complexion and easy smile, he was a longtime summer resident of Martha's Vineyard, Mass., where he sailed his 22-foot sloop, the Lark.

According to friends, he relished the challenge of finding his way home through the pea-soup fogs that often surround the Vineyard and Nantucket at that time of the year.

He was a member of the Hamilton Street Club, Rule Day Club, Wranglers and the Lawyers Round Table.

He was a communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., where funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Monday .

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, the former Eleanor Nelson; four sons, Edwin A.S. Lewis of Baltimore, John W. Lewis of Louisville, Ky., Fielding Lewis of Belmont, Mass., and H. McIlvaine Lewis of Santa Fe, N.M.; and nine grandchildren.

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