Michael C. Motsko, 81, builder, sold real estate

October 08, 2002

Michael Charles Motsko, a retired builder and real estate salesman, died of respiratory failure Friday at Howard County General Hospital. He was 81 and lived for the past five months at an assisted-living home in Savage.

One of 12 children of Ukrainian immigrants, Mr. Motsko was born in Ernest, Pa., a coal mining town. He was the first of his family to attend high school, graduating with honors in 1939 from the area's Indiana High School, where he was on the football team and played violin. He also was an amateur boxer.

During World War II, he served as a bombardier and intelligence officer in the Army Air Forces, first in England through the D-Day invasion, then in the Pacific. He attained the rank of captain.

After the war, he moved to Baltimore and married Suzanne Ruff of Randallstown. He earned a bachelor's degree in geology in 1949 from the Johns Hopkins University, where he was a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity.

He also learned the stone masonry business from his father-in-law, Seymour W. Ruff Jr., and, while at Hopkins, started a construction business with two of his brothers. During the next 30 years, he helped build parts of or created developments such as Oak Forest in Catonsville and Forest Hill Farms in Eldersburg.

After his building career, he sold real estate, most recently with Long & Foster Realtors.

In Randallstown, where he had lived since 1951, he was a member of the Lions Club and Knights of Columbus.

Mr. Motsko led Cub Scout Pack 970 from 1954 to 1958, and helped create the Liberty Road Little League baseball program. He managed the Lions baseball team for boys ages 8 to 12 from 1955 to 1959. In 1969, he became head coach of the Randallstown Optimist football league Bears, ages 10 to 14, which won two championships during his five-year tenure in the early 1970s.

Mr. Motsko's wife died in 1996.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at the Roman Catholic Shrine of the Sacred Heart, Smith and Greely avenues in Mount Washington.

He is survived by two sons, Michael C. Motsko Jr. of Mount Washington and W. Andrew Motsko of Owings Mills; a daughter, M. Lucinda Motsko of West Friendship; three brothers, John Motsko of Berlin, William Andrew Motsko of Chicago and Charles Motsko of Garden Grove, Calif.; two sisters, Sophie Sakash of Indiana, Pa., and Nelli Melnick of Youngstown, Ohio; and six grandchildren.

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