Mary Louise `Wheezie' Gutman

[ Age 88 ] Helped run distilleries and was a collector and donor of ceramics

January 01, 2008

Mary Louise "Wheezie" Gutman, who collected English ceramics and donated them to two Baltimore art museums, died of heart disease Sunday at her Lutherville home. She was 88.

Born Mary Louise Fleischmann in Baltimore and raised in Reservoir Hill and Mount Washington, she was a 1937 Park School graduate. She attended Goucher College.

In 1942, representing the Suburban Club, she won the city women's singles and doubles tennis championship. She later played golf and was a past president of the Women's Golf Association of Baltimore.

She worked with her father, Edwin "Bates" Fleischmann, who founded the Calvert Distillery in Relay. She was later a partner with him in his Standard Distillery and was a buyer of bottles used in whiskey production.

During World War II, she served in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. She was an enemy aircraft spotter based in Baltimore.

Mrs. Gutman collected English luster pottery for 40 years and donated part of her collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum, where it is displayed. A memorial lecture is being planned in her honor at the Walters.

"She was a longtime supporter of the decorative arts at the BMA," said Jay Fisher, deputy director for curatorial affairs. "She was a stylish woman, and she didn't hesitate to speak her mind."

Services will be held at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Sol Levinson & Brothers, 8900 Reisterstown Road.

Survivors include her husband of nearly 40 years, Arthur J. Gutman, a retired insurance broker; a son, Philip E. Sachs of Baltimore; a daughter, Marcy A. Sparrow of Baton Rouge, La.; a sister, Betty Lewison of Baltimore; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Two previous marriages ended in divorce.

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