Richard W. Emory, a Baltimore lawyer who led statewide efforts to ban slot machines and to promote equal employment opportunities in the 1960s and was a former board chairman of Morgan State University, died Monday of congestive heart failure at Brightwood Retirement Community in Lutherville. He was 89.
Gov. J. Millard Tawes appointed Mr. Emory to head a commission to phase out slot machine gambling in 1962. At the time, Governor Tawes said he worried that organized crime was taking over casinos in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties.
Given his anti-gambling background, Mr. Emory was baffled by recent efforts to permit slot machines at Maryland racetracks, said his son, Richard W. Emory Jr. of Baltimore. "He just couldn't believe it," he said.
A descendant of Colonial Marylanders, Mr. Emory was born at the Grey Rock estate of his father's family off Reisterstown Road in Baltimore County. His father, German H.H. Emory, also a Baltimore lawyer, was killed in action in World War I while commanding an infantry battalion.
The son attended Gilman School and Harvard University. He earned his law degree from Harvard in 1938, graduating cum laude, and served as editor of the Harvard Law Review.
After graduation, he was a clerk for Judge Morris A. Soper of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and a legislative draftsman for the Maryland General Assembly.
He became an associate in the law firm of Hershey, Donaldson, Williams & Stanley in Baltimore in 1939.
As a Navy officer during World War II, he served under Adm. Chester W. Nimitz in the Pacific, working in strategic intelligence. He received the Bronze Star in 1944, and left active duty as a lieutenant commander.
Mr. Emory joined the law firm of Venable, Baetjer and Howard in Baltimore in 1945 and became a partner in 1951. He practiced law with the firm until his retirement in 1981, except for a period from January 1947 to June 1948 when he was a deputy Maryland attorney general.
"He was the total, consummate lawyer and a great trainer of younger lawyers," said William J. McCarthy of Ruxton, a longtime friend and former law partner who was mentored by Mr. Emory. "He had a great ability to share his skill and wisdom."
In addition to his work to outlaw slot machines, Mr. Emory served as the first chairman of the Baltimore Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which sought to improve job opportunities for minorities, and helped to integrate Gilman School as president of its board of trustees.
"I can remember as a boy of 15, sitting at home and getting angry phone calls from people saying, `You are not going to integrate Gilman School,'" said Mr. Emory's son. "People said they wouldn't give money to the school, and my father said, `Don't worry, those people never gave money anyway.'"
Mr. Emory also served on the board of what was then Morgan State College, and was its chairman from 1965 to 1967.
His wife of nearly 31 years, Elizabeth Atkinson Burke, died in 1969.
The next year, Mr. Emory married the former Lila Jones, the widow of investment banker C. Meredith Boyce, a former city councilman and treasurer.
Mr. and Mrs. Emory played host to many parties at their Roland Park home. They also enjoyed golf and bridge at the Elkridge Club.
After Mr. Emory retired, they bought a house in Carefree, Ariz., and spent winters exploring the desert. The couple also took trips to Maine and Europe.
Mr. Emory enjoyed throwing birthday parties for himself to which he would invite his children and grandchildren. Once he whisked the family to a dude ranch in Montana, said stepdaughter Lila Lohr of Baltimore.
Another year, the family celebrated his birthday in Maine. While playing a game of Capture the Flag, Mr. Emory, who had just turned 70, slid into "home" to free team members who had been captured. "It horrified my mother but delighted the grandchildren," Ms. Lohr said.
Plans for services were incomplete yesterday.
Besides his wife, son and stepdaughter, Mr. Emory is survived by another son, John B. Emory of Portland, Maine; a stepson, Charles Meredith Boyce Jr. of New York; a stepdaughter, Elizabeth Hoover of Pennington, N.J.; 11 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.