Joseph Henry Meier, 74, book, magazine distributor

February 12, 2004

Joseph Henry Meier, a periodicals distributor who helped launch newsstand sales of People magazine, died of a stroke related to Alzheimer's disease Friday at a hospital in Tualatin, Ore. The former Northeast Baltimore resident was 74.

He was born and raised on his grandparents' farm in the then-rural Gardenville section of Northeast Baltimore. Part of the property was later sold to the city and became Radecke Park.

"After those early years working the farm, Joe decided to pursue a new career in sales," said his brother, Robert H. Meier of Monkton. His first job - at age 12 - was distributing Liberty magazine in Gardenville. "He then moved on to delivering the Baltimore News-Post."

After graduating from Polytechnic Institute in 1947, he served for eight years in the Maryland Air National Guard based at old Harbor Field - now the site of Dundalk Marine Terminal - and earned a degree in history from Loyola College.

For a time, Mr. Meier worked as a milkman, like his father. He sold Johnson & Johnson Band-Aids and pharmaceutical lines along the East Coast before joining the Baltimore regional office of Time Inc. In 1969, he transferred to New York City and moved to Wilton, Conn.

In the New York area, he worked for several publishing companies and traveled the country calling on magazine wholesalers and retailers. He later returned to Time as an executive vice president and helped launch newsstand sales of People.

In 1977, Mr. Meier moved to Oregon and developed book and magazine distribution into a multimillion-dollar business operating in several states.

Services were held yesterday in Tualatin.

In addition to his brother, survivors include his wife of 48 years, the former Ellen Patricia Fogarty; two sons, Joseph M. Meier of Boise, Idaho, and Timothy Meier of Portland, Ore.; two daughters, Mary Patricia Cieri of Redding, Conn., and Kathleen Flores, of Lancaster, Pa.; another brother, William J. Meier of Sparks; a sister, Margaret M. Rolfes of Parkton; and seven grandchildren.

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