Frederick Steinmann

Frederick Steinmann, a retired attorney who practiced estate, tax and trust law for more than five decades, died of pneumonia March 27 at Gilchrist Hospice Care. The Mays Chapel resident was 83.

Born in Baltimore and raised on St. Paul Street in Guilford, he was the son of Karl F. Steinmann, an attorney. His mother was Gerdaline Young Steinmann, a homemaker.

He attended the Calvert and Gilman schools before graduating from the Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., in 1950. He earned a bachelor's degree at the Johns Hopkins University, where he was a member of the tennis team. He was a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law. He was a lieutenant in the Maryland National Guard.

While on a blind date, he met future wife, Barbara Bauer, who was then a Goucher College student.

He initially worked alongside his father at his offices in the old Tower Building, an East Baltimore Street office landmark which the elder Mr. Steinmann owned. Among the other young lawyers in the office was the future vice president, Spiro T. Agnew, who also served as Maryland governor and Baltimore County executive in the 1960s.

Mr. Steinmann, who became an estate and tax specialist, joined Venable Baetjer and Howard. He worked closely with two of its best-known partners, H. Vernon Eney and Jacques Schlenger.

"Fred was a very able attorney and was the right-hand man of Jacques Schlenger, who did not suffer fools, and Vernon Eney, who was a hard marker, too," said Charles B. Reeves Jr., a retired Venable partner who lives in Baltimore.

Mr. Steinmann handled numerous tax and estate cases. In the early days of personal computers, he bought one and used it extensively. He embraced the wider use of computers in the practice of law and lectured on their use. Legal colleagues said Mr. Steinmann enjoyed the entrepreneurial aspects of law and worked well with a business-oriented clientele.

"He could put deals together for people buying big properties," said Joseph H.H. Kaplan, retired chief judge of the Baltimore City Circuit Court, who was also its circuit administrative judge. "Baltimore has lost a great tax lawyer and a very decent human being."

In 1997 Mr. Steinmann represented some cousins of Elizabeth C. "Nancy" Smith, who had owned 300 acres of land near Columbia which had never been developed, and who had left no will. She had lived on this farm since 1937 and never sold land to the Rouse Co., which developed Columbia around her tract.

The land ultimately sold for $11 million and portions of it are now the Blandair Regional Park.

In the early 1970s he joined other lawyers to form Little, Hall and Steinmann and later Steinmann, Granet and Hassani. He also had a solo practice in the Village of Cross Keys and in Towson. Family members said he enjoying working on his own.

"Fred was very thorough and could work the dickens out of an estate administration case. He thought of every nuance," said Gordon Fronc, a Baltimore attorney and friend. "He was friendly and was ready to help anyone with a question. He was pretty cerebral. Also, he was utterly devoted to his family."

Mr. Steinmann practiced at his Towson office on Washington Avenue until he retired in 2014.

"He kept a clean desk and an orderly office," said Doug Burgess, a friend who is a partner at Nolan, Plumhoff and Williams. "His files and his follow-ups were immaculate. … He was not afraid of new topics and challenges and he did all to help his clients. ... He was wonderfully attentive to his clients and their lives and was a counselor as well as a lawyer."

He was a sports enthusiast and went white-water kayaking for many years. He built his own kayak and spent many hours navigating the Youghiogheny River in western Pennsylvania He also played squash and golf.

He flew a single-engine Beechcraft plane. Family members said he had flown to many small airports within 200 miles of Baltimore.

At Mr. Steinmann's request, no funeral or memorial is being held.

Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Barbara Bauer Steinmann; a son, Dell Steinmann of Dallas, Texas; a daughter, Coverley Beidleman of Towson; two granddaughters; and several nieces and nephews.

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