Carlton Ray Bafford, 76, developer who built homes in Balto. County

December 26, 2003|By Stephanie Desmon | Stephanie Desmon,SUN STAFF

Carlton Ray Bafford, a local developer who built hundreds of homes throughout Baltimore County and designed many of them himself despite a lack of formal training in architecture, died Tuesday at Gilcrest Hospice Center in Towson of an aggressive form of leukemia. He was 76.

Born in Baltimore, Mr. Bafford graduated from Forest Park High School in 1945. He served a short stint in the Army Air Corps during World War II and attended the Johns Hopkins University for about two years after his discharge, but he never earned a degree. He instead went into the real estate business, where he spent much of the next 50 years.

Mr. Bafford began his career in residential sales with Russell T. Baker. He soon created Colonial Development Corp., a company that built a number of Baltimore County developments, many on the site of an old farm off Dulaney Valley Road.

His developments include Ravenhurst, Outpost and Lakeside near Loch Raven Reservoir; Hampshire Woods in Towson; and Sue Creek Landing near Essex.

"He never had a formal education as an architect, but he studied architecture from books and stuff," said his younger brother, E. Donald Bafford of Towson. "He was a pretty brilliant guy in a lot of ways."

Said Carlton Bafford's son, Barney R. Bafford of Forest Hill: "He did not build the traditional tract homes. He basically designed a lot of these things from scratch."

In 1967, Mr. Bafford built Mycross Farms, a thoroughbred horse breeding and training stable on Long Green Road in Dulaney Valley, complete with a 2-acre horse exercise pond. In the winter, the pond became a popular ice skating spot. In the summer, it was a favorite place for fishing with family and friends. The farm's horses never had great successes on the racetracks -- "There were a few that did OK," his son recalled -- but Mr. Bafford enjoyed the hobby nevertheless.

Mr. Bafford was also an avid duck hunter and boater, who loved his 45-foot sailboat Baffle and often spent time enjoying the sailboat racing circuit from Magothy River to Cedar Point. He also loved to travel.

"You could hardly name an island anywhere ... he hadn't been to," his brother said.

On Oct. 8, Mr. Bafford was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia, for which he was told there was no treatment.

Funeral services will be private.

In addition to his son and brother, Mr. Bafford is survived by another son, William C. Bafford of Phoenix; his longtime companion, Diane Wrightson; his wife, from whom he had been separated for 20 years, Bette Rohmer Bafford of Baltimore; his mother, Thelma Bafford of Baltimore; and four grandchildren. A third son, Louis Bafford, died in 1965.

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