Francis Iglehart Jr.

[ Age 82 ] The World War II veteran and attorney devoted his energies to racial equality and protecting the land.

December 31, 2007|By Tyeesha Dixon | Tyeesha Dixon,Sun reporter

Francis Nash "Ike" Iglehart Jr., an Army veteran and attorney who dedicated much of his life to racial equality and environmental preservation, died Friday at his home in Monkton of complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 82.

Mr. Iglehart graduated from St. Paul's School in New Hampshire in 1943. At age 18, he was drafted into the Army and was assigned to the now-defunct Army Specialized Training Program. In 1946, he was discharged from the military after being wounded in the Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

He graduated from Princeton University in 1949 and received a law degree in 1952 from the University of Maryland School of Law, where he was editor of the Maryland Law Review. He later earned a master's degree in literature from the Johns Hopkins University.

Mr. Iglehart was determined to improve race relations and strengthen civil rights. When he was 21, he joined his first picket line to protest the refusal of bar service to black delegates of the American Veterans Committee, of which he was a member in the local chapter. He and his wife, Harriet Stokes Iglehart, whom he married in 1947 at the end of his sophomore year of college, protested against real estate developers who wanted to foreclose on the homes of poor veterans.

The Baltimore chapter of the American Veterans Committee helped to integrate the Park Plaza Hotel near Mount Vernon by hosting dinners there.

In the 1950s, he sought a way to stop violent, anti-black demonstrations in Baltimore schools after the Supreme Court ruling to desegregate schools. He discovered a law that made it illegal to disturb schools, providing legal grounds for police to arrest disruptive demonstrators.

In the 1960s, he was appointed chairman of the Human Rights Commission for Baltimore County, served on the county's Planning Board and worked with the nonprofit organization Metro Housing, which helped create the state's first subsidized housing program.

"He had a really rich life, and he used his abilities to help other people," said his daughter, Hallie Austen Iglehart of Mill Valley, Calif. "He was very much a protector. He was protecting freedom in ... one of the hardest battles of World War II at age 19, and starting in the 1940s, he became a protector of African-American people, working in civil rights. And he continued that work throughout his life.

"He was also a protector of the land. He did a lot of work ... in zoning and land preservation to keep the country country."

Mr. Iglehart was committed to land conservation, purchasing land, encouraging others to buy farmland away from developers, and working on zoning laws to protect the countryside.

Mr. Iglehart was also a polio survivor, and his daughter said that he tried recently to explain to her what it was like to battle the disease.

"He just said, `I was determined to get over it,'" she recalled. "I think that will carried him though a lot of his life."

Mr. Iglehart wrote two books, The Short Life of ASTP, a memoir of his time in the Army Specialized Training Program during World War II, and Recollections of an Occasional Attorney, a collection of his experiences while he practiced law.

An avid horseman all his life, he hunted with and served as master of hounds for the Elkridge-Harford Hunt Club. He co-owned Buck Jakes, a two-time winner of the Maryland Hunt Cup. He was also a lifetime sailor who competed in blue-water races and sailed his boat, The Shenandoah, as far north as Greenland, and to Bermuda.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at St. James Episcopal Church, My Lady's Manor at 3100 Monkton Road in Monkton.

In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by three sons, Francis Nash Iglehart III of Leverett, Mass., Thomas James Iglehart of Jamaica Plain, Mass., and John Stokes Iglehart of London; another daughter, Elaine Lord Iglehart of Glencoe; and three grandchildren.

tyeesha.dixon@baltsun.com

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