Edward `Ned' deRussy, 90, law book sales representative

February 12, 2002|By Andrea Siegel | Andrea Siegel,SUN STAFF

Edward Nicholas "Ned" deRussy, a longtime law book sales representative, died of pneumonia Saturday at his Blakehurst Life Care Community home in Towson. He was 90.

A longtime resident of Ruxton, he was known in the legal community as an accomplished and well-read man who tended to the needs of lawyers and libraries in Maryland and Delaware.

A lawyer by education, he sold books for West Publishing Co. and spent 37 years with the specialty publishing house in the Baltimore area.

When he retired in 1978, the Bar Association of Baltimore City honored him, and West gave a portrait of him to be displayed in the bar library in the Baltimore Criminal Courts Building. In the tribute, he was honored as a "popular, able, accomplished, charming scholar and gentleman who occupies a special niche in the hearts and minds of the Baltimore Bar," according to a Daily Record account.

A native of Woodbridge, N.J., he worked on Wall Street and in Washington. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and earned his law degree from American University. He was admitted to the bar in the District of Columbia and Maryland.

His first assignment for West was to visit and update law school libraries across the United States. The position took him and his wife, Miriam McGarvey, whom he wed in 1938, on the road for two years. Afterward, asked what sales territory he sought, he chose Baltimore and settled in Bolton Hill before moving to L'Hirondelle Club Road in Ruxton in 1954.

In retirement, he taught legal bibliography courses to paralegal students at Villa Julie College.

He also continued his education, taking courses at the Johns Hopkins University, Goucher College and Towson University. The courses varied from French existentialism to international relations.

He read extensively, enjoying mysteries and rereading the classics.

"The man was an incredible book lover; books were his life," said a son, John deRussy of Towson.

"He had books piled on either side of the bed and on bookshelves all over the house and in his office. On Saturday afternoons, he'd sit in his favorite chair between two speakers listening to Metropolitan Opera Company broadcasts with a book in his lap," he said.

In 1952, Mr. deRussy, with several other fathers, established and helped coach the Roland Park Midget League, which later became the Roland Park Baseball Leagues.

"He wasn't an athlete and because he was born with polio, didn't walk until he was 5. He didn't know a whole lot about baseball, but he wanted to support and help children. He helped coach a team and took us to Oriole games," John deRussy said.

He was a longtime volunteer at Carroll Mansion, where he gave tours. He was a member of the Mencken Society, the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs, the Maryland chapter of the Society of Colonial Wars, the Merchants Club and L'Hirondelle Club of Ruxton.

The family suggested memorial donations to the Enoch Pratt Free Library, 400 Cathedral St., Baltimore 21201.

Services will be held at 4 p.m. tomorrow at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Boyce and Carrollton avenues in Ruxton.

His wife of 56 years died in 1994.

He is survived by another son, Cary deRussy of Timonium, two grandsons and a great-granddaughter.

Sun staff writer Frederick N. Rasmussen contributed to this article.

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