Reisterstown: Community mourns death of Charles `Silk' Murray

  • Resistertown resident John Jacob Lee, longtime resident of Bond Avenue and a cook at Hannah More Academy, is seen in this 1930s photo included in "Holding on to Their Heritage," by historian Louis S. Diggs,
Resistertown resident John Jacob Lee, longtime resident of… (Courtesy Louis S. Diggs )
March 05, 2012|By Sharon Rydell

Reisterstown mourns the passing of Charles Edward Nevin Murray, who died Feb. 27 at age 78. Mr. Murray, known to all as "Silk," joins the ranks of others who have served their community and made a difference in so doing. .

Silk's father, Charles Henry Stanley Murray, was the town's first dry cleaner in the 1940s, and its only dry cleaner for many years. The business, Silk's Cleaners, was located on Main Street, where the Wawa now stands. The family lived behind the store. Silk took over the running of the business when he was only 18 and eventually opened a second location in the Chartley Shopping Center. .

Silk's passion was that of civic duty. He served our town in many capacities including that of Past President of the Lions Club, Past President of the Reisterstown-Owings Mills-Glyndon Chamber of Commerce (1968), as well as Past President of the Reisterstown Jaycees, of which he was a founding member. He was also a lifetime member of the BUCs Pleasure Club.

Calvin Reter recalls Silk as a fellow businessman, and as a "staunch" Democrat. According to Calvin, Silk made it his mission to feed the poll workers on Election Day, and was a Past President of the Democratic Club.

Tiger Marshall, owner of Captain Harveys, a Reisterstown restaurant, said that Silk was his very first customer when he opened his doors for business on April 3, 1972. And when he miscalculated on supplies that first day, it was Silk who made the runs to the store to refurbish his stock, and keep him up and running.

Silk leaves behind his wife, Shirley Lity Murray, his daughter, Dawn Frederick, her husband, David, of Eldersburg, and grandson Daniel Frederick.

Director of the Reisterstown Senior Center Mike Schneider gives a smile of welcome to all. He is genuinely glad to see you, and lets you know that there is a lot to do and great times to be had at his senior center.


Each month, the Reisterstown Senior Center holds a variety of special events and programs that entertain, offer valuable information and celebrate holidays and birthdays. It's a great way for seniors to stay informed and connected.

On Feb. 24, the senior center hosted oral historian and storyteller Frances M. Cockey, who presented "My Grandmother's Trunk". This was a fascinating account of what it was like growing up in Reisterstown as a black American child, replete with artifacts from that era.

Ms. Cockey's legacy so lends itself to this telling, for she is the great niece of the late J. Jacob Lee, who resided at the corner of Bond Avenue and Main Street in the house which he and his wife, Daisy, built in 1920. It has since been refurbished, and is now home to Constellation Books, with offices on the second floor.

For more than 50 years, Jacob Lee was the cook for what was then Hannah More Academy, making the one-mile trip on foot to arrive by 5 a.m. In the summertime, he worked as a cook at Camp Mount Airy.

Through the years, Lee continued to purchase property in the area on which he had housing built that he rented to friends and family.

In 1985, the J. Jacob and Daisy H. Lee Memorial Fund was established. Governed by a board of five trustees, it provided funding for more than 30 families, extended family and other high school graduates to have the opportunity to further their education. Frances Cockey was one of those trustees, and when the fund ceased operation, it was her recommendation that the monies be turned over to her alma mater, Coppin State University.

Last month's Glyndon Community Association event "Love & Diamonds over the Valley" brought the town out at its best. It also brought out the best in community partnership.

The Glyndon Volunteer Fire Department was on hand with its hook and ladder raised to light the parking lot on what was a very dark and eventually snowy evening. Senior students from Franklin High volunteered their time to greet guests and take their wraps, among other duties that make a party flow.

Glyndon resident and committee member Kim Karlsen couldn't say enough about those who donated the thirty-four silent auction items, Santoni's catering, which they accorded at a discount, as did the Sagamore House, for its use as the site for the event. With their cooperation, the Glyndon Community Association was able to raise a bankable net profit of $2,000.

These monies will go towards the necessary replacement of vintage crafted street signs, whose lettering the county says is no longer up-to-code, as well as other projects.

And the winners of the half-carat diamond donated by Nelson Coleman Jewelers? Well they were none other than Glyndonites Mary and Chris Profaci, whose stone in the champagne glass was the next to the last to be examined for authenticity We hope you wear it in the very best of health!

Reter's Crab House played host to a book signing by former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich on Tuesday evening, Feb. 28, from 6 to 8 p.m. A manageable crowd of thirty or so plunked down $30 each for a drink, an appetizer and a signed copy of "Turn This Car Around: The Roadmap to Restoring America".

Some meandered on to the Grille at the Harryman House, which noticed a bump in Tuesday night's business. Ehrlich and his pal Greg Massoni, however, were long gone by 7:30 p.m. They took in a latte at Java Mammas.

Don't forget to "spring forward" as daylight-saving time begins on Sunday, March 11.

Look for my next column on Thursday, April 12.

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