George A. Grier, 83, Carroll leader

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

George A. Grier, a retired Carroll County government administrator who was a founder of the Carroll County Farm Museum, died Sunday at St. Joseph Medical Center of complications from heart surgery. He was 83 and lived on a farm in Uniontown.

Mr. Grier was Carroll County's administrator from 1959 to 1983, a period in which he wrote and carried out the county's first comprehensive zoning ordinance, administered a sanitation commission, drafted local legislation that -- under Carroll's commissioner form of government -- required passage by the General Assembly, and started an economic development commission.

At his 1983 retirement, an article in The Sun noted, "His critics say he has had too much influence on Carroll County government for a nonelected official. His admirers say his political savvy and understanding of the government processes have made him invaluable."

Born on a Forest Hill farm in Harford County, he was a 1935 graduate of Bel Air High School. After attending Western Maryland College, now McDaniel College, in Westminster, he earned a business degree from the Johns Hopkins University.

During World War II, he served in the Army Corps of Engineers in Germany and France.

He began his career as a Harford County planner. In 1959, he was retained by Carroll County and served as the first county administrator. He lobbied -- and won -- adoption of a much-debated 1976 agricultural preservation plan that restricted farmers' development rights.

After his retirement from county government, Mr. Grier was a lobbyist for the Maryland Aggregates Association in Annapolis and a special assistant to the president of Western Maryland College.

He was among the founders of the farm museum, and served on its board for 20 years. He also sat on the boards of the Union Mills Homestead Foundation and Carroll County General Hospital.

In retirement, he wrote two books, Carroll County Farm Museum -- The First Ten Years and The Old Family Farm -- Farm Life 100 Years Ago.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at First United Presbyterian Church, 65 Washington Road, Westminster.

Mr. Grier is survived by his wife of 55 years, the former Betty Johnson; a son, Thomas B. Grier of Forest Hill; two daughters, Susan Rosen of Roanoke, Va., and Patricia Whitson of Westminster; sisters Alice Williams of Havre de Grace and Jane Wenzel of Rogers, Ark.; a brother, John W. Grier of Forest Hill; and three grandchildren.

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