John George Noppinger Sr., 90, Baltimore lawyer, business owner

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

John George Noppinger Sr., a retired lawyer who for 50 years had a one-man business and tax law practice in downtown Baltimore, died of pneumonia Sunday at Oak Crest Village in Parkville, where he had lived for the past eight years. The former Towson resident was 90.

Born in Baltimore and raised on East Lombard Street in Highlandtown, he was a graduate of City College, where he took night classes to earn his high school diploma. He then received a degree in business administration from the old Baltimore College of Commerce in 1934 and joined Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., where he became a senior accounting clerk. He obtained his certificate as a certified public accountant Feb. 4, 1941, from the state.

Drafted into the Army in 1941, Mr. Noppinger served in the Quartermaster Corps throughout the United States. When he left the Army Reserve in 1951, he had attained the rank of major.

He became office manager for an architectural millwork firm, John C. Knipp & Co., before joining Ernst & Ernst, accountants, in the late 1940s. He received his law degree from the University of Baltimore in 1950, where he later taught business law and accounting. He was admitted to the Maryland Bar that year.

"My father was known to have high credibility in his field," said his son, John George Noppinger Jr. of Kingsville. "His passion was his work. He worked seven days a week and spent Saturdays and Sundays at his home office. He rose at 5 in the morning and got busy. He was also an astute investor."

Mr. Noppinger established his law practice in the Fidelity Building at Charles and Lexington streets in 1950 and remained there until 2000.

"He impressed me with his straightforwardness, honesty and ability to keep matters in perspective,' said Joe Della Ratta, a client who is a Washington builder and developer. "He was a consistent man. If there was an agreement made, he was true to the deal."

Mr. Noppinger specialized in income tax matters. Among his clients were Colts great Johnny Unitas, the old Kirsch's Restaurant in Govans, the former Harry T. Campbell and Sons quarry in Cockeysville, Harley-Davidson of Baltimore and the Villa Tile Co.

"He was a man who brought a moral approach to his profession," said Lou Grasmick, a lumber business owner and a client. "He was a highly ethical man who gave me sound guidance over the years. I held him in the highest regard. In his own way, he was a visionary, always ready to explore new ideas applicable to your business."

Mr. Noppinger was an active member of the Maryland Bar Association and the American Legion's Parkville Post.

In his free time he traveled, played pool and read.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 2 p.m. Nov. 29 at the Oak Crest Village Chapel, 8800 Walther Blvd., where he was a member of the parish council.

Survivors, in addition to his son, include his wife of 61 years, the former Dorothy W. Hallman; a daughter, Carolyn N. Carleton of Great Falls, Va.; a brother, William G. Noppinger of Timonium; two sisters, Catherine J. Noppinger of Parkville and Alberta N. Parr of Albany, N.Y.; three grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

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