Joseph L. Wilner, 97, clothing manufacturer

March 28, 2003

Joseph L. Wilner, a former Baltimore men's clothing manufacturer and champion golfer, died of dementia Tuesday at Manor Care Roland Park. He was 97.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Mr. Wilner was a 1924 graduate of City College. He attended the Johns Hopkins University until leaving to help his father, a Russian-born clothing-cutter, establish a business making men's suits.

They opened the business in Baltimore's old garment district at Baltimore and Howard streets in 1926. The firm, which became known as Kass Wilner & Sons, manufactured and sold men's suits, slacks and sports coats to stores in Baltimore and throughout the South.

The company also manufactured uniforms for the Baltimore Transit Co. and U.S. Capitol security guards, and during World War II supplied raincoats worn by U.S. naval officers.

After selling the company to Howard Uniform Co. in the 1970s, Mr. Wilner remained as a consultant until retiring in 1985.

Mr. Wilner was a charter member and former president of the Woodholme Country Club. He won his first golfing championship at the club in 1931, and repeated the accomplishment five times. He continued playing the sport into his early 90s and also liked playing bridge.

Mr. Wilner was married for 54 years to the former Edna Pondfield, who died in 1982.

Graveside services will be held at noon today at Har Sinai Congregation Cemetery on Garrison Forest Road.

He is survived by a son, Ronald M. Wilner of Baltimore; a daughter, Marilyn Frieman of St. Petersburg, Fla.; four granddaughters; and four great-grandchildren.

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