William A. Fogle Jr., executive assistant to Mayor Schaefer

Executive assistant to Mayor Schaefer made sure 'Do it now' policy got done

  • A former executive assistant to Mayor William Donald Schaefer, Baltimore's William A. Fogle Jr. died Sept. 17. He was 79.
A former executive assistant to Mayor William Donald Schaefer,… (File photo, Baltimore Sun )
September 22, 2014|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | The Baltimore Sun

William A. Fogle Jr., who served as Mayor William Donald Schaefer's executive assistant and all-purpose troubleshooter and later became secretary of the Maryland Department of Licensing and Regulation, died Wednesday at his Glen Rock, Pa., farm of complications from a stroke. He was 79.

"Bill was Mayor Schaefer's troubleshooter, and any time he had problems, he knew he could rely on him," said Tom Toporovich, former secretary to the Baltimore County Council and a longtime friend. "Schaefer always had his 'Do it now' philosophy, but Bill was the guy who actually got it done."

The son of William A. Fogle Sr., who later worked in the Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s wire roller mill at Sparrows Point, and Ida Fern Lohr Fogle, a bookkeeper, William Alfred Fogle Jr. was born in Connellsville, Pa., and moved in 1939 to Dundalk with his family.

After graduating in 1953 from Dundalk High School, he served in the Army as a cryptographer from 1954 to 1956.

He attended the University of Maryland, College Park and later transferred to the University of Baltimore, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1961 in industrial management.

In the early 1960s, he worked as a corporate industrial engineer for Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., the Pennsylvania Railroad and later the Chesapeake & Ohio and Baltimoe & Ohio railroads.

Mr. Fogle began his long career in government in 1966 as supervisor of management and budget for Baltimore City government, a position he held until 1981. He served as executive assistant to Mayor Schaefer from 1981 to 1987.

In the late 1970s, he he set up a new billing system for the city and updated its meter-reading duties. When there were problems with the management of the Hanover Street Bridge Marina, the manager was fired, and Mr. Fogle took over the marina's operation.

Mr. Fogle was sent into the fray once again in 1980 to clean up the city's central garage on Dickman Street, which suffered from poor management, pilfering of auto parts and a long backlog of city vehicles awaiting repair.

During the early 1980s, Mayor Schaefer asked him to run and upgrade the city's six municipal markets.

"I think I'm reasonable but firm," Mr. Fogle told The Baltimore Sun in a 1984 interview. "There's one thing I made clear with the merchants. In the final analysis, I've got the responsibility for running the markets. If I make the wrong choices, they've got the responsibility to tell me that I've made wrong choices."

From 1985 to 1987, he also went to Annapolis during the General Assembly session to lobby for Mayor Schaefer's legislative agenda.

When Mr. Fogle was chosen by then-Governor Schaefer in 1987 to become state secretary of licensing and regulation, a Cabinet-level position, he reflected on his days in city government. "I ran the water department. I ran the central garage. I even ran the supervisors of elections," he told The Sun.

At the time, he told the newspaper that he "would lay on the tracks for the mayor, because he's dedicated his life to the people."

The Department of Licensing and Regulation regulates the Maryland marketplace, from credit cards and banks to mortgage brokers and real estate agents. Among the more than 30 agencies and boards that it oversees, it also regulates the state's barbers, cosmetologists, landscape architects and even hearing-aid dealers.

Mr. Fogle led the effort that prohibited smoking in the workplace, which gained him national attention.

"Bill was certainly flexible when it came to the many jobs that he held," said Nancy S. Grasmick, the former Maryland school superintendent.

"He had great loyalty to Governor Schaefer, both on the city and state level," she said. "He was a really good human being, and I enjoyed him as a colleague and friend."

In 1993, Governor Schaefer selected Mr. Fogle to attend the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

"Bill was somebody who always struck me as being immensely practical and not a bureaucrat," said Albert W. Barry III, former assistant director of planning for the city of Baltimore, who is now a planning consultant. "He strove to help with Schaefer's agenda and solve problems."

When Mr. Fogle created the Heritage Fair Association in 1976 in Dundalk, he relied on his experience helping found Baltimore's City Fair, where he also served as entertainment chair.

"Bill was a giant among many Dundalk giants. He never forgot his roots here," said Mr. Toporovich.

After leaving state government in 1995, he served as president of Baltimore Contractors, and in 1997 earned his real estate license and served as vice president of the York County Property Management Co., a York, Pa., construction, management and development firm.

A resident of Dundalk for more than 40 years, he later moved to Anchorage Towers in Canton. When he retired in the late 1990s, he moved to Greystone Farm in Glen Rock.

A 32nd-degree Mason, Mr. Fogle was a member of the Boumi Temple. A golfer, he was a member of the Sparrows Point Country Club. He sang with the Chorus of the Chesapeake and was also a world traveler.

A memorial service will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Duda-Ruck Funeral Home, 7922 Wise Ave., Dundalk.

Mr. Fogle is survived by two sons, David Allen Fogle of Catonsville and William A. Fogle III of Glen Rock; a brother, Robert A. Fogle Sr. of Severna Park; two sisters, H. Lorraine Brodka of Santa Teresa, N.M., and Sondra Berger of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and two grandchildren. His marriage to Carole Ann Head ended in divorce.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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