Louis P. Morsberger, 72, state legislator for 20 years, owner of Catonsville tavern

February 18, 2002|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Louis P. Morsberger, a former Maryland legislator who owned a Catonsville tavern, died Wednesday at St. Agnes HeathCare of complications from treatment for lung cancer. He was 72.

The Catonsville Democrat served 20 years in the House of Delegates beginning in 1975. In five terms, Mr. Morsberger served on the Economic Matters and the Rules and Executive Nominations committees and numerous subcommittees. But he is perhaps best remembered as a tireless campaigner and local politician, his former colleagues said.

"If he wasn't in Annapolis during the session, he was attending local community meetings," said Ned Malone, a former Baltimore County sheriff and delegate who served in the General Assembly with Mr. Morsberger in the 1970s and early 1980s. "He was loyal to the community."

Retired District Judge John C. Coolahan, a former state senator who shared a district with him, said Mr. Morsberger was in his element campaigning door to door in Catonsville.

"He enjoyed knocking on doors, and he loved talking to people," Mr. Coolahan said. "Everyone liked him. He was an all-around good guy."

Mr. Coolahan said he often joked with him about the tavern on Frederick Road that Mr. Morsberger owned with his brother, Elmer Morsberger of Catonsville. Though officially called "Morsberger's," the sign outside just read "Bar." Mr. Morsberger refused to change it, saying it had always been a bar and always would be.

His daughter, Louann M. Tracy of Catonsville, said the tavern was opened by Mr. Morsberger's father nearly a century ago.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Catonsville, Mr. Morsberger graduated from Catonsville High School in 1948.

He served in the Army during the Korean War, stationed in Panama.

Mr. Morsberger also helped operate another family business, Morsberger Development, a property management company.

Ms. Tracy said her father owned many thoroughbred racehorses over the years. Some of his favorite winning horses were Manaddie, Brad's Outta Here and Notty Jack, she said.

Mr. Morsberger was a member of American Legion Post 109, the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, the Maryland Speakers Society and the Maryland Horse Breeders' Association.

He enjoyed hunting and was a regular on the sidelines of his grandchildren's soccer and baseball games.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. today at Catonsville Presbyterian Church, 1400 Frederick Road.

In addition to his daughter and brother, he is survived by his wife of 47 years, the former Jolene Truitt; another son, Jeffrey D. Morsberger of Catonsville; two sisters, Charlotte Gibbons of Catonsville and Dorothy Salas of San Diego; and six grandchildren. Another son, Mark P. Morsberger, died in 1976.

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