Lewis Winfield Bellinger, 86, environmental activist

November 03, 1999|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Lewis Winfield Bellinger, an environmental activist, died Saturday of pneumonia and complications of cancer at North Arundel Hospital. He was 86 and lived in Solley in Anne Arundel County.

Regarded as a vigilant protector of his northern Anne Arundel County neighborhood -- as well as the Curtis Bay and Brooklyn sections of southern Baltimore -- for 20 years, he fought air, water and ground pollution.

"We called him the watchdog of the Marley Neck," said Del. Mary Rosso, a Democrat who represents northern Anne Arundel County. "He was a strong advocate for the environment. He'd go places that no one would go. He's walked through ditches and railroad tracks and the woods. Lew was the fearless one. He'd go anywhere."

In 1979, he helped found the City-County Coalition for Survival, a group that defended environmental causes in the area. Over the years, he staunchly opposed a medical waste incinerator, an auto racetrack, the Solley Road landfill and fly ash from a utility smokestack.

He became alarmed about the air quality in his neighborhood in the 1970s, when the shingles on his home grew discolored. He worried about cancer rates in the Patapsco Neck.

"His knowledge and his spunk for environmental issues made him a big person," said Ann Bonenberger, who lives in Brooklyn and has known him 13 years. "Only two weeks ago, he was at a meeting on the water discharge of two petroleum companies. He was determined, and he always knew what he was talking about."

He frequently testified about the environment at Baltimore City Hall, the State House in Annapolis and the Anne Arundel County Council.

During his long career in community activism, he served as president of the Solley Elementary School PTA, master of a local Boy Scout troop, treasurer of the United Council of Civic Associations, vice president of the Maryland Waste Coalition, president of the Solley Civic Association and commander of the American Legion Post 277 in Pasadena.

Born in Mohawk, N.Y., he attended public schools in Pallentine Bridge, N.Y., and began working on a local railroad as a young man to help support his seven brothers and sisters.

He came to Baltimore in 1940 to work as a machinist at the Glenn L. Martin aircraft factory in Middle River. He retired in 1976 from Koppers Co.'s former Bartlett Hayward branch in Southwest Baltimore.

He served in the Army in Europe during World War II and was discharged as a staff sergeant. In 1942, he married the former Catherine Lenora Workman. She survives him.

Funeral services will be 11 a.m. today at Stallings Funeral Home, 3111 Mountain Road, Pasadena.

He is also survived by a daughter, Marcia Stinemire of Glen Burnie; two granddaughters, and a great granddaughter.

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