Edward Trail Mathias, a retired banker and longtime denizen of Bolton Hill, died June 17 from complications of a stroke at the Blakehurst retirement community in Towson. He was 85.
The son of Charles McCurdy Mathias, a lawyer, and Theresa Mcelfresh Trail Mathias, a homemaker, Edward Trail Mathias — he never used his first name — was born in Baltimore and raised in the family home on Court Square in Frederick.
He graduated from Frederick High School in 1943, and took an additional year of high school studies at the Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va., from which he graduated in 1944.
Mr. Mathias began his college studies at Haverford College and enlisted in the Army in 1944. Trained as a demolitions expert and in weaponry, he remained in the Army until being discharged in 1946.
He returned to Haverford, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1950. After leaving college, he had an internship at the Library of Congress cataloging books and doing research for legislators on Capitol Hill.
In 1950, a family friend interested Mr. Mathias in becoming a bank examiner, and he traveled through Kentucky, Georgia and South Carolina making calls on banks.
"He also enjoyed the Savannah and Charleston beaches and also the Kentucky Derby," said his wife of 44 years, the former Natasha Zavoico.
"He had plenty of stories that he told from his days on the road as a bank examiner," said David G. Mock, a longtime friend and First National Bank colleague.
In 1952, Mr. Mathias began his career in the trust department of the First National Bank, where he rose to vice president and senior trust officer in the trust department.
"Investments were his specialty," said Mr. Mock.
While working at the bank, Mr. Mathias earned a law degree and a master's degree in economics from the University of Baltimore. He retired in 1996.
In 1960, Mr. Mathias purchased a Bolton Hill town house at the corner of Bolton Street and Lafayette Avenue. The house had once been the home of entertainer Garry Moore, who became a national TV sensation in the 1950s and 1960s, and Dr. Curt P. Richter, the noted psychologist and behaviorist who was director of the psychobiology laboratory at the Johns Hopkins Hospital's Henry Phipps Psychiatric Clinic.
"He was a great traditionalist in the way that he kept his house that was built in the 1880s," said Frederick "Teddy" Griffith, a longtime friend and neighbor.
After moving to Bolton Hill, Mr. Mathias immersed himself in the affairs of the community. He was an active member of the Mount Royal Improvement Association, and in the early 1960s was one of the founders of the Bolton Hill Swim and Tennis Club.
Frank R. Shivers Jr., a retired educator, city historian and author whose 2010 book, "Bolton Hill: Classic Baltimore Neighborhood. Blue Plaque Edition," chronicled the history and residents of the neighborhood, is also a longtime friend and neighbor.
"I can say only nice things about Trail. He certainly was the pillar of Bolton Hill and participated in the affairs of the Mount Royal Improvement Association, where he was a steady worker," recalled Mr. Shivers.
"Trail was very friendly and agreeable, just a real nice guy," said Mr. Shivers. "He always had the interest of the neighborhood at heart, and there are not too many people who do as much as he has done."
Mr. Mathias was "a fantastic guy," said Mr. Griffith. "He was one great supporter of our beloved neighborhood."
Mr. Mathias never lost his affection for the Western Maryland and Frederick of his boyhood, and enjoyed taking family and friends for visits there. In the 1970s, he played a role in establishing the Monocacy National Battlefield, parts of which came from an old family farm that was divided.
"He had a great fondness for Frederick and he knew a good deal of Maryland history. He was always interesting to talk to on that subject," said Mr. Mock. "He talked about the Civil War battles around Frederick. He knew all of these things."
Mr. Mathias had been a member of the board of the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House and the Constellation. He also served as a member of the boards of Historic Hampton and Fort McHenry.
Mr. Mathias and his wife were known for the parties they hosted at their home.
"They were what we call zakuski, which is a Russian word for small plates of hors d'oeuvres. We always had lots of vodka and fish," said Mrs. Mathias. "Trail loved a really good martini, Bloody Marys and dark rum, which he drank without quinine."
"They really were an ideal couple and whenever they gave a party, it was always a wonderful time," said Mr. Griffith.
Mr. Mathias was influenced in collecting antiques by his parents, who filled their Frederick home with antiques.
"He really started at a very young age and he collected everything from pitchers to huge comfort chests and other furniture," his wife said.
He enjoyed reading and was "particularly engrossed in reading history," his wife said. Mr. Mathias also liked to travel and had visited Russia, Paris, London and Nova Scotia.
Mr. Mathias was an active communicant and former vestryman at Memorial Episcopal Church, 1407 Bolton St., where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Sept. 14.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Mathias is survived by two sons, Edward "Ted" Mathias of Mount Washington and Stephen McCurdy Mathias of Sparks; a sister, Theresa Trail Mathias of Frederick; and several nieces and nephews. His brother, former U.S. Sen. Charles McC. Mathias Jr., who had been in the Senate from 1968 until retiring in 1986, died in 2010.
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