James McSherry Shriver Jr., a member of an old Carroll County family and a former canning company executive who lectured widely on agricultural history, died Monday after being injured in an automobile accident. He was 82.
Mr. Shriver was driving south on Greenspring Avenue near Lindemann Lane in a 2000 Oldsmobile Alero when he swerved, hitting a mailbox and then striking another vehicle. He was taken to Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The accident remains under investigation, a Baltimore County police spokeswoman said.
Mr. Shriver, a fifth-generation member of the Shriver family that has lived at Union Mills, their ancestral home, since 1797, was born in Baltimore.
The son of James McSherry Shriver Sr., a canning executive, and Helen Brogden Shriver, a homemaker, he was raised at Chinquapin Hill, his parents' home in the Union Mills compound.
"I've lived here since I was 3 days old," Mr. Shriver told The Baltimore Sun in a 1987 interview.
A 1945 graduate of Portsmouth Abbey School in Portsmouth, R.I., Mr. Shriver earned a bachelor's degree in 1949 from Pennsylvania State University.
He had been in the ROTC during his college years, and during the Korean War was called to active duty and served stateside, attaining the rank of captain.
During his college summers, Mr. Shriver worked supervising the farm and later the canning operation of the B.F. Shriver Co., which had been established in 1869 by B. Franklin Shriver, his grandfather.
Mr. Shriver's father was president of the B.F. Shriver Co., and after graduating from Penn State, Mr. Shriver worked full time in the business, which raised and canned green beans, corn, peas, fruit and tomatoes as well as juices on farmland in Carroll County and southern Pennsylvania.
"Anything that could be grown and put in a can, they did," said a son, James M. Shriver III of Union Mills.
He succeeded his father as president and CEO of B.F. Shriver Co. and operated the business until it was sold in 1976.
"I sold it under the condition that the company would be dissolved within a year," Mr. Shriver explained in the 1987 interview.
The Shriver homestead, built by two brothers, Andrew and David Shriver, was nothing more than a four-room clapboard home when it was built in Carroll near Big Pipe Creek along Littlestown Pike in 1797. It later was expanded to 23 rooms and remained in the Shriver family for more than 160 years.
The brothers added a grist mill, sawmill, blacksmith shop, tannery and cannery, creating what historians described as an early "industrial park."
The last family members to occupy the Shriver homestead departed in 1958 and left it to Mr. Shriver and two other family members, who established the Union Mills Homestead Foundation and began operating the old home and grist mill as a museum.
Mr. Shriver was a former president of the foundation and a founding board member of the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster.
Mr. Shriver was a ubiquitous presence at the Union Mills Homestead until his death.
"He and I were cousins, and I've been executive director since 2000, so you could say I knew Jim pretty well," said Jane Sewell.
"He had a marvelous sense of humor, a quick wit and was just a great person to be around. And he knew the Union Mills Homestead like the back of his hand and could fix anything," said Ms. Sewell, who teaches at the Calvert School.
"Jim was always around helping with events and doing what needed to be done. We have a working grist mill, and he knew how to operate it and was a great tour guide," she said. "He loved the Homestead."
She said that Mr. Shriver was the "keeper of the Shriver legacy" and that he'll "be greatly missed."
Edmund "Ned" Cueman was a former member of the board and a longtime friend.
"I first got to know Jimmie when I came to Carroll County in 1971 as director of the county planning board and joined the Westminster Rotary Club," Mr. Cueman recalled.
"The entire Shriver family was expected to pitch in at the museum, and no one did that more than Jimmie. He was always front and center at the museum helping and doing what needed to be done," Mr. Cueman said.
"Whenever I went up there, invariably you'd find him there. He wasn't the kind of guy to sit around and watch the world go by," he said. "He also was the salt of the earth. After he sized you up, he'd start a little repartee. He liked that, and that's why he was well-liked and respected."
Mr. Cueman said that Mr. Shriver was the personification of modesty, eschewing anything that was remotely stuffy or pretentious.
"He wasn't about to go around bragging about the Shriver family, even though they have been one of the most prominent families in Maryland," he said.
"Jimmie was a regular guy — just like us — and the last thing he'd ever do was put on airs, and he could smell a counterfeit coming for a mile," Mr. Cueman said.