Maclyn McCarty Jr., 66, state delegate, chemical engineer

January 24, 2002|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Maclyn McCarty Jr., a retired chemical engineer who was a liberal voice in the House of Delegates three decades ago, died of an aneurysm Friday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was 66 and had lived in Charles Village for more than 40 years.

A two-term delegate elected to the House in 1966 and 1970, Mr. McCarty broke political ground as a founder of the city's New Democratic Club as a way of giving voice to his opposition to the Vietnam War.

"Mac was one of the earliest of the peace advocates in the 1960s," said J. Joseph Clarke, a real estate developer and former club officer. "The peace movement of the 1960s was largely university-centered. He was not just for peace, but he was in the lead for racial and social integration."

"In everything, Mac was an intense person. He took things seriously, which I think at times astounded his fellow legislators," said former City Council President Walter S. Orlinsky. "He got into an argument about an insurance bill. Everybody stopped playing cards to watch him go at it with a slide rule to figure a percentage."

While in Annapolis, he sponsored a resolution praising Mexican-American labor leader Cesar Chavez in 1971. A year later, he tried without success to win passage of a bill to allow Maryland wineries to sell their products to visitors. Newspaper stories said the commercial liquor industry worked to defeat his bill. He also tried without success to abolish the state's old movie censorship board.

He pushed for fair credit laws and spoke up for the consumer in utility cases. He issued position papers calling for rail lines to be made into mass transit and proposed use of jitney shuttle buses.

"He was bright, honest and a dedicated delegate," said former state Sen. Julian L. Lapides, on whose ticket in the city's old 2nd Legislative District Mr. McCarty was elected in 1966.

Born in Kenosha, Wis., Mr. McCarty was raised and attended public schools in New York City and New Rochelle, N.Y. He earned his undergraduate degree from the Johns Hopkins University in 1957, followed by a master's and a doctorate in physical chemistry. He was a Hopkins associate professor of chemical engineering in the early 1960s.

For many years as a Martin Marietta Corp. engineer, he oversaw projects in St. Croix in the Virgin Islands and in California. He retired in 1983 from the company's Commonwealth Aluminum Corp. subsidiary.

After living in Charles Village for a decade, he purchased in 1972 an old mansion at Calvert and 29th streets that had been damaged by years as a Hopkins fraternity house. Over the next three decades, on and off, he worked on its restoration - but never conquered all of its 30 rooms. He hired a general contractor to complete its carriage house, making it into a home for his mother and later into Hargrove House, a bed-and-breakfast that he and his wife operated.

A memorial gathering will be held at 4 p.m. Feb. 9 at Cathedral House at the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation, 4 E. University Parkway.

Mr. McCarty is survived by his wife, the former Sara A. Renn, whom he married in 1956; four daughters, Debra "Slugger" McCarty of Philadelphia, Pam Lake of Charlotte, N.C., Susan McCarty of Baltimore and Kim McCarty of Greenbelt; his father, Maclyn McCarty Sr. of New York City; two brothers, Colin McCarty of Schenectady, N.Y., and Richard McCarty of Baltimore; a sister, Dale McCarty of Bradenton, Fla.; and three grandchildren.

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