Clarence E. `Bud' Ritter, 73, Balto. Co. councilman, farmer

April 08, 2003|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Clarence E. "Bud" Ritter, a retired cattle farmer, model train collector and former Baltimore County councilman whose district stretched from Reisterstown to the Pennsylvania line, died Sunday at Northwest Hospital Center. The Glyndon resident was 73 and had been under treatment for a brain tumor.

Born in Hebbville, he was a 1946 graduate of Catonsville High School and earned a degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law. He served in the Army during the Korean War, working in intelligence.

In 1959, Mr. Ritter founded an insurance agency on Susquehanna Avenue in Towson. He gave up the business, then named Kroh, Miller & Knight, about 25 years ago.

From 1966 to 1970, he was a Baltimore County trial magistrate in Parkton. A Republican, he was elected to the County Council in 1974 and served four years. Newspaper articles dubbed Mr. Ritter one of the "Fearsome Foursome" -- a reference to council members who frequently locked horns with then-County Executive Theodore G. Venetoulis.

Mr. Ritter ran in the 1978 primary for county executive but was defeated by fellow Republican Eugene Kibbe, who lost in the general election to Democrat Donald P. Hutchinson.

"He was one of the two Republicans on the council at the time. Bud was all business -- conservative," said former County Councilman Norman W. Lauenstein of Essex. "He was instrumental in getting the county to purchase the Hannah More property in Reisterstown. That was his baby."

Mr. Ritter was a breeder of registered polled Hereford cattle and was a past president of the Maryland Hereford Association. He formerly owned a 100-acre Sparks farm, Pleasant Meadows, and then another farm, Stone Throw in Phoenix. He retired from farming about 20 years ago.

In the 1980s, he opened a model train shop in Glencoe. He later relocated the business, Collector Trains and Toy World, to the 3600 block of Falls Road in Baltimore's Hampden neighborhood. Family members said he also enjoyed building model layouts for his grandchildren.

"He was very much into pre-World War II Lionel trains," said a daughter, Robin L. McNeal of Millers. "He never missed the semiannual York, Pa., train meets, and he collapsed at the show this past fall."

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Bosley United Methodist Church, 14800 Thornton Mill Road, Sparks, where Mr. Ritter was financial chairman.

Survivors also include his wife of 48 years, the former Lois Rau; a son, Scott E. Ritter of Laytonsville; another daughter, Michele J. Kaplan of Hong Kong; two sisters, Charlotte Gilchrist of Annapolis and Roberta Hayes of Monroe, Ga.; and two grandsons.

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