Shirley R. Diggs, 101, sold cars until age 94

October 16, 2004

Shirley R. Diggs, a retired Buick salesman with a ferocious work ethic, died of vascular disease Sunday at his Ashburton home. He was 101.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Roberts Street, he attended city public schools. He learned to drive as a young man and was a chauffeur for Dr. Erwin Mayer, a Eutaw Place physician who treated athletes for the old Baltimore Orioles of the International League.

In the 1940s, Mr. Diggs owned and operated the Club Barbeque, a restaurant and bar at Pennsylvania Avenue and Mosher Street. Mr. Diggs then sold cars in two dealerships, continuing until he was 94. Still not wanting to retire, Mr. Diggs joined BSI Group, a security agency.

"The week before he died, he was talking of going to races," said his daughter Shirley Richardson of Baltimore.

Mr. Diggs was a former vice president and treasurer of the Chesapeake Club, a Eutaw Place social organization. He played the harmonica, guitar, banjo and organ by ear.

A memorial service will be held at noon Oct. 23 at Union Baptist Church, 1219 Druid Hill Ave. Mr. Diggs was a lifelong member there.

In addition to his daughter, survivors include his wife of 73 years, the former Margaret McCall; three sons, Ronald Diggs, Dale Diggs and Tyrone Diggs, and another daughter, Tammie Diggs, all of Baltimore; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

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