Bradley T.J. Mettee Jr., 93, lawyer for almost 7 decades

March 08, 2003

Bradley Tyler Johnson Mettee Jr., who practiced law in Baltimore for nearly seven decades, died Wednesday of heart failure at Charlestown Retirement Community. The former Catonsville resident was 93.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Highlandtown, he attended City College but spent his last semester helping to support his family. He passed a high school equivalency exam in 1928.

While working as an office boy for the downtown Baltimore legal firm of Semmes, Bowen & Semmes, Mr. Mettee earned a degree from the University of Baltimore Law School in 1931 and passed the bar later that year. He was later admitted to the firm.

Among his cases, Mr. Mettee liquidated 267 acres of a Northeast Baltimore estate that spanned both sides of Loch Raven Boulevard, from Woodbourne Avenue to Northern Parkway in Northwood. The land was once owned by Baltimore Sun founder A.S. Abell and his heirs.

He also worked on the liquidation of the old Park Bank, a popular Baltimore savings bank that failed in the Depression.

Mr. Mettee represented several well-known Baltimore Colts, and helped John Unitas establish his Colt Lanes bowling operation. He worked with Lenny Moore on the purchase of a restaurant and bar, and with Jim Parker and Artie Donovan on the purchases of their liquor stores. He also represented television station WMAR-TV in several labor negotiations.

Mr. Mettee prepared a stock purchase agreement on the National Brewing Co. for financier Louis Eliasberg and the Abraham Krieger families. He represented floor covering distributor, J.J. Haines & Co., and served on its board until three years ago.

In 1956, he and a partner purchased Woodlawn Cemetery, developed it to twice its size and later sold it.

Mr. Mettee left the Semmes firm as a senior partner in 1969 to start a private practice. He continued to work until his death. He told his friends his office was "by the fireplace puzzle table."

Mr. Mettee was a member of the Catonsville Rotary Club, the Palestine Masonic Lodge and the Society of the War of 1812. He was also an avid stamp collector.

For 12 years Mr. Mettee was board member of Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. A lecture hall is named for him.

In 1934 he married Renate Leroy, an organist at Christ Lutheran Church in Catonsville. She died in 1989.

Services will be held 10 a.m. today at Christ Lutheran Church, 5700 Edmondson Ave., Catonsville where he was former council president.

Survivors include two sons, Bradley Tyler Johnson Mettee III of Catonsville and the Rev. John Howard Mettee of Mount Juliet, Tenn.; a daughter, Dorothy Mettee Miciche of Timonium; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Another daughter, Renate Elizabeth Mettee, died in infancy.

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