Otis E. Mace, 95, head of city contracting firm

May 16, 2004|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Otis E. Mace, founder and president of a Baltimore electrical contracting firm, died of heart failure Wednesday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. He was 95 and lived at the Pickersgill Retirement Community in Towson.

Mr. Mace was born and raised on the eastern Baltimore County farm that later became the site of Essex Community College.

"He was born slightly hard of hearing, and because of it, his family thought he wasn't very bright," said his goddaughter, Conradt "Connie" Whitescarver of Ruxton. "His life was very inspiring because he overcame what in those days was considered a disability and went on to become the only member of his family to graduate from college."

Mr. Mace was a Towson High School graduate.

An aunt made it financially possible for him to attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, where he earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1929.

Mr. Mace returned to Baltimore and in the early 1930s established Mace Electric Co. Inc., which for years was on East 25th Street. Today, the company is on Coolidge Avenue in Southwest Baltimore.

"Otis was from the old school, where a handshake sealed a deal. He didn't care if it was a million-dollar deal or less, it was sealed with a firm handshake. That's how he worked and kept the business going through the years," said Richard J. Colon, who purchased the company in 1983.

"Because he had a high sense of integrity and honesty and was straightforward, it was easy for him to get jobs. He was also highly regarded by his peers, and I can say that you never heard a bad word about Otis," he said.

Mr. Mace also enjoyed working directly with his employees, said Mr. Colon.

"He was very creative and hands-on. He ... liked coming up with ideas that he shared with his employees. Not only was he very imaginative, he was also a good businessman," he said.

Mr. Mace retired in 1983.

For nearly 50 years, Mr. Mace and his wife, the former Eleanor "Dilly" Dilworth, lived at Finally Farm in Phoenix, in Baltimore County. They also spent summers at a home in Sherwood Forest, in Anne Arundel County.

Mrs. Mace, who had been principal of the upper school and assistant to the principal at Friends School, died in 1991.

Mr. Mace, who enjoyed traveling and sailing, was a member of the Annapolis Yacht Club and the Tobago Golf Club in the West Indies.

He was a member of the Stony Run Friends Meeting, 5116 N. Charles St., where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. May 22.

Mr. Mace is survived by several nieces and nephews.

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