Michael D. Colglazier, 57, lawyer for the Ravens

April 17, 2005|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Michael D. Colglazier, a respected attorney who represented the Ravens and many of Baltimore's financial institutions in his three decades of practice, died of cancer Friday at his Lutherville home. He was 57.

Born in Richmond, Va., and raised in Bel Air, he was a 1966 graduate of Bel Air High School. He earned a degree in political science at Amherst College, where he played on the football and rugby teams. He later served there as an assistant dean of admissions. He received his law degree from the University of Virginia.

In 1974, he joined the Baltimore law firm of Miles & Stockbridge and soon was made a partner. His colleagues said his law practice spanned many disciplines but focused on banking litigation and bankruptcy. In recent years he was general counsel to the Baltimore Ravens and represented Art Modell, its former majority owner.

"He was an intellectual with street smarts," Mr. Modell said from his home near Vero Beach, Fla. "Over the years I've worked with a lot of attorneys, but I don't recall any with his skill, competence and enormously high level of integrity."

In 1988, he was a founding partner of the Baltimore office of Hogan & Hartson, a Washington-based law firm that was among the first out-of-town law firms to open an office in Baltimore.

"He was a brilliant person and a splendid human being, too," said James F. Schneider, chief judge of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Baltimore.

Among Mr. Colglazier's clients was the old Equitable Bank, in whose interests he attempted to attach $2.3 million that the old Baltimore Colts owed the financial institution at the time franchise owner Robert Irsay moved the team from the city in 1984.

"He had a facile mind, and he thrived on complexity," said Stephen J. Immelt, Hogan managing partner. "The bigger the mess and the bigger the problem, the more he loved it."

His legal colleagues recalled the setting where he practiced.

"His office was a museum of papers, pleadings, memorabilia and miscellany," said Mark Saudek, a law partner. "It was impenetrable to the outside world but neatly catalogued in his head. He was fond of saying, `A clean office is the sign of a cluttered mind.'"

Friends recalled Mr. Colglazier's expansive knowledge of art, literature, sports, wine and movies. They also remembered his dry wit and fluid, extensive vocabulary.

"He was very scholarly and intellectual in the way he spoke," said Doug Nazarian, a law partner. "At times, we all headed back to the dictionary after hearing him."

Colleagues said he was an excellent negotiator. "In a complicated situation, he would cut through to the heart quickly and practically," said John Frisch, chairman of Miles & Stockbridge.

Mr. Colglazier had a long volunteer relationship with the Lutherville-Timonium Recreation Council, where he coached young soccer and basketball players.

"He would line the playing fields at dawn, turned out the lights long after dark, and in between prepared young adults for far more than the next game or season," said Mr. Saudek. "His proudest moments came as his players played as a team and grew as individuals."

The recreation council recently honored him by naming an award in his honor and mounting a sign at Seminary Field thanking him for years of leadership.

"He believed strongly in the character-building aspect of sports for children," said Sian Jones, his wife of 26 years, who is a painting conservator.

Mr. Colglazier was a trustee for the St. Paul's School for Boys and the School for Girls.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Old St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Charles and Saratoga streets.

In addition to his wife, survivors include two sons, Tristan Colglazier, 20, a student at Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., and Gareth Colglazier, 18; and two daughters, Meriel Colglazier, 17, and Cerys Colglazier, 16.

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