Max M. Ellison, 86, drug firm controller, swimming coach

October 15, 2002|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Max Milton Ellison, retired controller of a local drug company and a swimming coach, died of complications from heart disease Sunday at Northwest Hospital Center. The Pikesville resident was 86.

A former senior manager and executive of the now-closed Time Finance Company's St. Paul Street headquarters in Charles Village, he later became controller of Barre-National Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Co. He retired more than a decade ago.

Born in Richmond, Va., and raised in East Baltimore, he was a 1933 City College graduate. He earned a degree in chemistry at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he was on the fencing team and won competitions in the sport.

During World War II, he served in the Coast Guard Reserve and had lookout duty along the Chesapeake Bay.

After many years with Time Finance, which had offices throughout the city, Mr. Ellison in 1970 became controller of Barre-National in 1970, a pharmaceuticals firm named for the street near the Inner Harbor where its plant once stood.

Mr. Ellison ran the finances of the business that supplied generic medicines to Wal-Mart, Walgreen, Rite Aid and other retail chains.

"He was a meticulous person who brought a great business sense to the company," said Max Mendelsohn, Barre's former president and chief executive officer of Barre-National. "He came immediately after one of our executives had died. We needed someone with a sense of maturity. He led us - in a business sense."

Active in the Jewish community, Mr. Ellison coached diving and swimming for many years at the Jewish Community Center on Park Heights Avenue, where he maintained a lifelong membership. He was also a member of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation and earlier belonged to Beth Tfiloh Congregation, Temple Emanuel and the Nouvelle Club of Baltimore.

"He served as a mentor to Russian families who emigrated here, helping to find them jobs and educational opportunities," said his daughter, Joann Ellison Rodgers of Owings Mills. "I think most of all, he enjoyed helping young men learn to swim and dive at the JCC."

Mr. Ellison also had a musical background. While in his 30s, he enrolled at the Peabody Conservatory and mastered the piano works of Bach, Chopin and Haydn. Mr. Ellison also played tennis, and golfed at Baltimore's public courses - he particularly liked Mount Pleasant - until well into his 80s.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. today at Sol Levinson & Bros., 8900 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville.

Mr. Ellison is also survived by his wife of 63 years, the former Dorothy Hirschhorn; a son, Jeffrey Ellison of Kapaa, Hawaii; a sister, Helen Tenner of El Paso, Texas; two grandsons; and a great-granddaughter.

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