Glenford Eugene Thompson, who owned and operated a landscaping business, died of an apparent heart attack Saturday at his home in the Village of Cross Keys. He was 60.
Born in Baltimore and raised on Wheeler Avenue, he was the son of Rufus Thompson, a real estate investor, and Virginia Louise Thompson, a homemaker and school aide. He attended Calverton Junior High School and was a 1975 graduate of Northwestern High School. He went on to earn a bachelor's degree at the University of Maryland, College Park.
As a young man, he worked as a security guard, pretrial investigator and private investigator before founding a landscaping business with a family friend, Donald Todd.
The firm, called T and T Landscaping, was initially housed in a Springfield Avenue garage. The partners established a list of residential customers throughout Northeast Baltimore, Forest Park and Ashburton, cutting grass and trimming hedges themselves.
Mr. Thompson became the sole proprietor of the business, which he expanded, and worked from offices in Ashburton and on Clipper Mill Road.
"His business served both corporate and residential customers. It soon became known for the beauty of its landscape designs, quality of work, and excellence of customer service," said Lois Hicks, his partner and a friend. "He loved the sprectrum of colors he used. He preferred Japanese dwarf maples and often used pachysandra and euonymus."
She said he considered the color of the homes to complement the gardens he created. She also said he was a devotee of plants that changed colors throughout the year.
Family members said he educated himself with trips to gardens, which he would photograph. He also took a master gardening course.
"My father found an outlet for his creativity, artistic sensibilities and love of nature in his business," said his daughter, Christina Thompson. "He reveled in the details, like the coloring of a variegated leaf or the texture of a tree's bark. He continually studied to improve his knowledge and craft."
She said he did not advertise his business and relied upon worf of mouth.
Mr. Thompson also worked with hardscaping — walks, patios and stone garden walls. He also designed garden ponds.
His clients included Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. and the Wallace H. Campbell real estate firm. He also had numerous residential clients.
"Glen was the youngest child in the family, but he was the loudest, boldest and most in-your-face. He had a big personality," said his sister, Janice Roberts, a Baltimore resident. "He was a born storyteller. He was also artistic. He drew and painted and believed he had a fabulous voice and was Lionel Richie incarnate."
His completed projects were published in Chesapeake Homes and Southern Garden magazines.
"Glen's business was a source of pride within the minority business enterprise community," said Wayne R. Frazier Sr., president of the Maryland Washington Minority Companies Association.
Mr. Thompson enjoyed spending time with his family. He donned an apron and was the grill master at these gatherings, where he liked to serve steaks.
"My father was the consummate host — even if it was not officially his party," said his daughter. "He made sure that everyone had their fill of good food and good times."
His partner said, "If he thought we were having 10, he would have food for many more. He liked a spread that included shrimp, crab, beef and pork. Spring and summer were his seasons."
Services will be held at noon Monday at the March Life Tribute Center, 5616 Old Court Road in Randallstown.
In addition to his partner, daughter and sister, survivors also include a brother, Kenneth Lyle Thompson Sr. of Baltimore; and nieces and nephews.