John D. Hubble Sr., 69, developer and real estate officer for the city

January 24, 2005|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

John Delaney Hubble Sr., one of the area's well-known names in real estate and a former Baltimore city official, died Wednesday of an apparent heart attack in his car in downtown Baltimore. The Lutherville resident was 69.

For decades, his name was synonymous with real estate investment, development, deals and construction in and around the city.

"From a real estate standpoint and a professional standpoint, he was extremely bright. He was very savvy. He knew how to put the deals together," said Bob Altieri, president and chief executive officer of Carrollton Bank in Baltimore, a longtime friend.

Their business association quickly turned into a friendship, said Mr. Altieri, who described him as "an easy, fun, exceptional guy" who treated everyone well.

Mr. Hubble was born at the Love Point Hotel in Queen Anne's County, which his parents operated. The family moved to Baltimore's Mount Vernon neighborhood when he was 6. He attended City College and later took business courses at the YMCA.

His education in real estate came through his father, L.L. Hubble, who founded a family real estate business in 1919 and with whom he worked. He also was taken under the wing of his father's colleagues.

In 1955, he married his childhood sweetheart, the former Nancy Perrera. The couple worked side by side in the family business, developing hundreds of acres in Anne Arundel, Howard and Charles counties. In the 1970s, they built, renovated and developed condominiums in Guilford and Roland Park.

They lived in 17 homes during their marriage, renovating each.

In the 1970s, Mr. Hubble developed and built restaurant and bar businesses in downtown Baltimore. Among them was Pickle's Pub near Oriole Park at Camden Yards, for which he received an architectural award from the city.

He received an award for architectural distinction from the city for his renovation of what was first Graul's, then Green & Fairbanks Grocery, into the Hubble Co. offices at 2600 St. Paul St. The building has since been sold.

He was semiretired during the past few years.

Mr. Hubble had a lifelong passion for politics, and supported both Democrats and Republicans, concerned more with their deeds than political affiliation, said his wife.

He was affiliated with James H. "Jack" Pollack, and in the 1970s was a considered a protege of the Northwest Baltimore political boss. At the time, he was a member of Democratic organizations, including the Huntington Democratic Association and the Hilltop Democratic Club.

He was an unsuccessful candidate for City Council president in 1971 and for mayor in 1975.

He was twice elected clerk of the city's Circuit Court No. 2, serving from 1970 -- when he ran unopposed -- to 1976.

He resigned in September 1976 in a deal with a special prosecutor to avoid criminal indictment amid a probe into allegations that he neglected his duties and spent his hours and office resources on his business interests. However, he maintained his innocence, saying he did not neglect his job and that he had resigned to stop the legal bills from mounting.

After that, he stayed largely out of the public eye, continuing with real estate ventures. He remained active in politics until his death.

In January 2001, Baltimore Comptroller Joan M. Pratt installed him as the city's real estate officer. He left the post in June.

A Mason, he was a member of St. John's Lodge, the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry and the Boumi Temple.

A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. today at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St.

In addition to his wife, survivors include a daughter, Karen Hubble Bisbee of Ruxton, and a granddaughter. A son, John Hubble Jr., died in 1979.

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