Richard Victor Miceli, 57, refinished landmark doors

July 10, 1999|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Richard Victor Miceli, who refinished the doors on the Washington Monument and other Baltimore landmarks, died while swimming Tuesday in the pool of his Mocksville, N.C., home. The former Catonsville resident was 57.

A heart attack is suspected as the cause of death.

Mr. Miceli operated Baltimore Stripping Corp. from 1985 to 1990, offering advice to hundreds of customers restoring rowhouses and other buildings during the rehab boom of William Donald Schaefer's mayoral administration.

"From early on, Rick liked to work with his hands and with wood," said his brother, Francis G. Miceli Jr. of Homeland.

His Southwest Baltimore company was located at Pratt and Carey Streets in brick stables that were built in 1870. The shop was a few blocks west of the city's salvage depot, then on Pratt Street and where renovators came to buy bits and pieces of demolished city buildings.

Urban homesteaders often put their steps, doors, mantelpieces and banisters in the back of their trucks and drove straight to see Mr. Miceli, who stripped the old paint or varnish with chemicals and cold water.

In addition to working on private homes, Mr. Miceli removed paint from the shutters on the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House near Little Italy, the doors to the Clarence Mitchell Court House and woodwork at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

He also made and sold furniture, including shelves, curio cabinets and wood ornaments. In 1990, he gave up the business and moved south. After a stop in Florida, he settled in Mocksville, establishing a shop called Fine Finishes.

Before going into woodworking, Mr. Miceli spent nearly 20 years as an Eastern Airlines control center manager, working in Los Angeles, Boston, Baltimore and Washington.

Born on Monastery Avenue in Irvington, he was a graduate of Mount St. Joseph's High School and the University of Baltimore. In the 1960s, he served as an engineer draftsman in the Army.

A funeral Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Francis Roman Catholic Church in Mocksville.

Mr. Miceli is also survived by his wife, the former Jane Norris; a son, Nicholas Anthony "Tony" Miceli of Mocksville; and a sister, Patricia Yockel of Catonsville.

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