Olin Ross Bedsworth Jr., 84, insurance manager

December 27, 2005

Olin Ross Bedsworth Jr., a former insurance manager who entertained his Charles Village neighbors with tales from his Eastern Shore childhood, died at his home Dec. 19 after a brief illness. He was 84.

"He had a wide variety of very substantive, ethnographically charged stories, about growing up, about race, about class," said Dwight A. Schwartz, a neighbor who took Mr. Bedsworth to medical appointments and shopping. "He had a good sense of humor."

Born in Crisfield, Mr. Bedsworth earned his teaching certificate from Salisbury State Teachers College. He worked for a year as a schoolteacher. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he joined the Army, working in water treatment at several locations in Europe.

FOR THE RECORD - An obituary in the Dec. 27 editions misstated the date that Olin Ross Bedsworth Jr. died. Mr. Bedsworth died Dec. 20. The Sun regrets the error.

While in England, he wrote a musical called One Week in Paris, which he later described as a word-of-mouth hit among his fellow soldiers. He was an entertainment specialist when he was discharged.

Mr. Bedsworth began working as an insurance claims analyst for Commercial Credit Corp. in 1950. He rose to manager, designing policies, before his retirement in 1985.

Mr. Bedsworth moved to the block of Charles Village known as Pastel Row for the color of the rowhouses in 1970. A lifelong bachelor, he cared for his dying mother in the house.

In recent years, Mr. Bedsworth had been adopted by several younger neighbors, who knew him as "Mr. Ross." Their work to spruce up his house - stripping the peeling green paint from his house and repainting it gray-blue with white trim - was the subject of a front-page story in The Sun in 2003.

"I was really depressed, getting pretty low, and then this happens," he told a reporter at the time. "It's a minor miracle."

Then 82, he said he had outlived his family and strived to be self-reliant.

"The only thing I can do now is remember," he said. "I'm in my old little world, and I forget about the outside. Days merge."

At the time of the article, he was caring for Sheba Garbo, one in a long line of beloved dogs. He also maintained a large collection of old movies on videotape.

"He was very aware of what was going on in pop culture," Mr. Schwartz said. "He watched a lot of movies, and was very knowledgeable about the actors of, say, the 1930s."

While Mr. Bedsworth preferred to keep by himself, Mr. Schwartz said, he expressed his gratitude for those neighbors who helped to take him on errands.

No services are planned.

Mr. Bedsworth left no immediate survivors.

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