Thomas F. Foell, 65, butcher stall owner

October 16, 2002|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Thomas Frederick Foell, who formerly owned a Lexington Market butcher stall, died Sunday of complications from multiple sclerosis at his Timonium home. He was 65.

His business was well known in the city's downtown shopping district - chiefly because its name was emblazoned on the thousands of brown paper shopping bags he gave out during his 30 years at the market.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Westport and Lochearn, he was a 1954 graduate of Milford Mill High School. After studying at Oxford Academy in Pleasantville, N.J., he earned a business management degree at Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, W.Va. He then joined the Marines, served in Okinawa and earned the rank of lieutenant.

In 1962, he went into the family business, Foell Brothers. He worked initially alongside his father, Edward J. Foell, who operated the Lexington Market stall with a brother. It had been founded at the turn of the 19th century by their father, Gottlieb Frederick Foell, a German-born butcher.

The younger Mr. Foell took over the business, which featured freshly butchered beef, lamb, pork and veal, often to a customer's specific instructions.

Every purchase came with the free shopping bags, declaring in large blue letters: "Foell's Purveyors of Highest Quality Meats."

"He had a huge stall, and he sold his own fresh celery sausage," said Orem Wahl, a Mount Vernon resident and former Foell's customer. "He took great care to trim his meats - and would do a crown roast of pork that was the best I ever had, just delicious. He always had great sauerkraut - and his shopping bags were everywhere."

Mr. Foell was recalled by other market merchants because of his long tenure there and for the taste of his meats.

"The Foells were a part of the Lexington Market for a long, long time," said fellow stall merchant Wynn Harger, owner of Rheb Candy Co. "He had fine meats, top quality - and the name was well known in Baltimore."

Family members said Mr. Foell rose before dawn Tuesday through Saturday - the market was closed Sundays, and he took Mondays off - and began cutting meats in the market basement. He had his own elevator to bring the meats from their subterranean freezing locker to the stall display cases.

Mr. Foell's multiple sclerosis was diagnosed many years ago, and he continued to fight the condition until he could no longer stand. He then sold the business and dealt in securities for a brief period.

He was a lifetime weekend sailor and often cruised the Chesapeake and its tributaries. When his condition forced him to give up his sailboat, he bought a powerboat and named it Remission, a reference to the state of his medical condition.

In 1962, Mr. Foell married Betty Ann Hauck, a Baltimore County elementary school teacher who survives him.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Henry W. Jenkins & Sons, 16924 York Road, Monkton.

He is also survived by a son, J.D. Foell of Ocean City; two daughters, Lisa F. Black of Manchester and Amy Foell of Brooklandville; his mother, Elsa Mae Foell of Towson; a sister, Meta Joy "Kandi" Slade of Timonium; and five grandchildren.

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