Walter R. Harding Jr., 63, advocate for the disabled...

Deaths Elsewhere

January 11, 2002

Walter R. Harding Jr., 63, advocate for the disabled

Walter R. Harding Jr., a Scoutmaster who fought for the rights of the disabled, died of pneumonia complications Saturday at McGuire Veterans Medical Center in Richmond, Va. He was 63 and lived in Carney.

As a result of a 1957 swimming accident while stationed in Italy in the Navy, Mr. Harding broke his neck. A quadriplegic, he continued his service in the Navy until he retired on disability in 1961. He learned to drive -- with hand controls -- and received a license in Maryland in 1965.

During the Orioles-Pittsburgh Pirates World Series in 1979, he protested a lack of adequate seating at Memorial Stadium with other members of Disabled in Action, a local activist group. They staged a candlelight vigil and received adequate seats for the games.

He also worked for building codes in new structures, and modification of existing ones, for accessibility by the disabled.

As a young man, he was a Sea Scout and as an adult he re-established his connections to the Boy Scouts of America.

He won a number of Scouting awards and held various positions, including that of Scoutmaster of Troop 156 at the Church of the Messiah in Hamilton. He was also Explorer Committee chairman of the Parkway District in Northeast Baltimore.

In 1981, he was awarded Scouting's highest honor, the Silver Beaver Award.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Hamilton, he was known as Jack. He attended Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School and graduated from Catonsville Community College in 1975.

He received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Baltimore in 1982.

He was a life member of Disabled American Veterans and Paralyzed Veterans of America and belonged to the Garfield Camp of the Sons of Union Veterans and Sons of the American Revolution.

He was a past president of Towson React, a citizens-band radio emergency monitoring group, and a member of Ravens Roost 50.

Services were held yesterday.

Survivors include his wife, the former Janice Debelius, whom he married in 1978; a brother, James Harding of LaPlata; two sisters, Joyce H. Marchesani of Rome, N.Y., and Elaine H. Works of Lynchburg, Va.; a stepdaughter, Andrea J. Croop of Timonium; and a grandson.

George Allan Epstein, 48, Balto. Co. public defender

George Allan Epstein, a deputy district public defender for Baltimore County, died Monday of Hodgkin's disease at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was 48.

The Mount Washington resident, who was a deputy district public defender for two years, had earlier been a criminal defense attorney in private practice.

"George believed in the duty to help his fellow man and to actively contribute to the community. He was an unabashed traditional liberal who practiced and worked a hands-on social activism," said Gary M. Hyman, a Baltimore attorney and longtime friend.

"His credo was that every individual is entitled to the best defense possible, no matter what crime for which the person is charged," said his sister, Ruth Greenberg of Baltimore.

Mr. Epstein, who was born in Baltimore and raised in the city's Pimlico section, was a 1971 graduate of Polytechnic Institute.

He earned his bachelor's degree in political science from Loyola College in 1975 and his law degree from the University of Baltimore Law School in 1978.

He clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., and was a member of the Maryland Code Revision Commission.

Despite being diagnosed with cancer 20 years ago, Mr. Epstein led a vigorous life and actively participated in professional bar associations and community affairs.

Mr. Epstein was a member of the Baltimore Jewish Council and the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, where services were held Wednesday.

In addition to his sister, Mr. Epstein is survived by his wife of 22 years, the former Nancy Fay; a son, Joseph Epstein; two daughters, Samantha Epstein and Jenna Epstein, all of Mount Washington; his mother, Irma Marks of Baltimore; and several nephews and nieces.

Father John Bradunas, 83, priest and accountant

Father John J. Bradunas, a priest in the Congregation of St. Francis de Sales, died Monday of heart failure at the nursing home of the De Sales Center in the Cecil County community of Childs. He was 83.

A member of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, he was ordained in 1973 and served at churches in Gloucester and Vienna, Va.; New Orleans; Ormond Beach, Fla.; Philadelphia; and Wilmington, Del. He earned a master's degree from the De Sales School of Theology in Chillum.

Born in Baltimore, he was raised at the old St. Vincent's Male Orphanage in Rodgers Forge. He was a graduate of St. Bernard's Parochial School in Waverly and, in 1936, Loyola High School.

In 1940, he received an accounting degree from Loyola College. From 1936 to 1968 -- except for World War II Army service in Okinawa and elsewhere in Japan -- he was an accountant for the old Muth Brothers & Co., a South Charles Street wholesale drug firm.

Father Bradunas retired in 1997 and moved to the congregation's center, where a Mass of Christian burial was offered yesterday.

He is survived by a sister, Dorothy Wokee of Towson, and a nephew.


Jon Lee, 33, the drummer for the Welsh rock band Feeder, hanged himself in his Miami home Monday, officials said.

Mr. Lee was from Newport, Wales. Feeder's biggest hit was the 2001 single "Buck Rogers," which reached No. 5 in Britain.

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