George M. Brady Jr.

Bank Executive Was Founding Director Of The Rouse Co. And Played An Integral Role In The Development Of Columbia

August 16, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,

George Moore Brady Jr., a founding director of the James W. Rouse Co. who later became a national leader in low-income housing, died of pneumonia Monday at his home in Bethesda. He was 87.

Mr. Brady, the son of a prominent attorney and a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised on St. John's Road in Roland Park.

He attended Boys' Latin School and graduated in 1940 from Canterbury School in New Milford, Conn.

Mr. Brady attended the Johns Hopkins University for three years, during which time he was active in the ROTC.

After enlisting in the Army in 1943, he was assigned to the 94th Infantry Division, where he was a member of a battalion scouting group.

In September 1944, the 94th departed England and landed at Utah Beach in Normandy.

On a 50-man combat patrol into German territory on Oct. 2, 1944, Mr. Brady and his men were ambushed and captured near Lorient, France.

They remained POWs for 45 days before being released in one of the largest prisoner-of-war exchanges of World War II.

Returning to his old unit as a scout, Mr. Brady wrote in a biographical sketch that he "led General Patton's first tank across the Saar River" into Germany.

After the war, Mr. Brady returned to Baltimore and completed his studies at Hopkins in 1947. Two years later, he earned a law degree from the University of Maryland.

In 1950, Mr. Brady joined James W. Rouse & Co. Inc., where he was in charge of developing the company's mortgage business in Baltimore and Annapolis.

In 1955, he was named an assistant vice president and went to work as the assistant to the head of the residential financing division of the company.

When the Rouse Co. opened its J.W. Rouse Mortgage Banking Co. office in Washington, Mr. Brady was named its first head.

He later led the effort that resulted in company offices being established in Pittsburgh, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In 1967, when Mr. Rouse began building the new town of Columbia, Mr. Brady was in charge of its planning, sales and marketing.

"He was one of the founders of the Rouse Co. and the first manager of Columbia. Because he had a diverse set of skills, George did a multitude of things and held a number of different roles in the company through the years," said retired Rouse Co. chief executive Mathias J. DeVito.

"Everything he did, he did well. He was very artistic and had a great sense of style and he was good with numbers. And because he could do a variety of things, he was very valuable to Jim," said Mr. DeVito, who headed the development company from 1973 to 1984.

"And when I was president of the company, he was in turn very important to me. He was just a wonderful, multidisciplined guy. His style, taste and good common sense were very important to the company," he said.

Mal Sherman, a retired Rouse Co. executive and former real estate consultant, was a longtime colleague and friend.

"Because Jim needed so much help with Columbia, he took a lot of key people, and that's how George got into the Columbia process and became my boss," Mr. Sherman said.

"My department was in charge of all sales of residential land and furnished lots to builders. George was also in charge of the industrial sales division, which sold land for office buildings and warehouses," Mr. Sherman recalled.

"He was great at the business, was a wonderful leader, and had a great sense of humor. We were like two little boys together," he said, laughing.

"George was very well-respected in the mortgage business. He knew everyone, and they knew him," he said. "He was very, very capable, and Jim leaned on George."

During this time, Mr. Brady was also president of the Washington Banking Association, a board member of the Washington Board of Realtors, chairman of the District's Urban Renewal Committee and chairman of the Urban Renewal Committee of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America.

Mr. Brady was also a member of the Riggs Bank Advisory Board, a member of the First Amendment Bank board and chairman of Partners for Livable Communities.

In 1970, Mr. Rouse appointed him chairman of Rouse-Wates, a joint venture with England's largest residential building firm.

Two years later, while remaining on the board of the Rouse Co., he left Rouse-Wates to become president and later chairman of the National Corporation for Housing Partnerships, a private entity created by Congress to encourage participation by private enterprise in housing for low- and moderate-income families.

For his efforts, Mr. Brady was named Person of the Year in 1987 by the National Housing Partnerships.

Even though he retired in 1988, he remained on the board of the Enterprise Development Corp., which had been established by Mr. Rouse to produce low-income housing.

The former Tuscany Canterbury resident, who later lived in Washington and Chevy Chase, had been a resident of Bethesda since 1997.

Mr. Brady was an art collector who focused primarily on works from the Ashcan School movement and circus artwork.

He had served on the board of what is now the Corcoran College of Art and Design.

He also enjoyed collecting books, visiting art museums and travel. He was also an avid theatergoer.

Mr. Brady was a member of the Chevy Chase Country Club and the Metropolitan Club.

He was a Knight of Malta and a communicant of the Roman Catholic Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament in Chevy Chase, where a Mass of Christian burial was offered Friday.

Surviving are his wife of 38 years, the former Maria Nomita von Barby: two sons, George M. Brady III of Silver Spring and Richard Grant Brady of Pelham Manor, N.Y.; four daughters, Elizabeth "Zibby" Andrews of Cedarcroft, Frances Siegler of Tenafly, N.J., Ellen Brady of Bethesda and Madeleine Cohen of Rockville; a stepson, William Amoroso of Potomac; 17 grandchildren; and a great-grandson. His first wife, the former Frances Grant, died in 1970.

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