Leonard A. Siems, founder of Siems Rental & Sales Co. Inc., a heavy construction equipment rental firm, died May 7 of a heart attack at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. He was 86.
"He enjoyed the equipment rental business and wanted to become a leader in the business. and became one," said Marvin W. Abbott, former president of Siems Rental & Sales Co. Inc. "He became one of the top leaders in the area."
The son of Leonard Arnold Augustus Siems, a banker who was vice chairman of the Suburban Trust Co., and Marie Wekenman Siems, a homemaker, Leonard Arnold Siems was born in Baltimore and raised in Roland Park.
He was in the Class of 1946 at McDonogh School and briefly served in the Army. He earned a bachelor's degree in business in 1952 from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Mr. Siems began his business career selling steel for A. M. Castle & Co., and in 1957, he and his business partner, Richard Hinkle, purchased Free State Equipment Co., a construction equipment company. The two men later established a subsidiary company, Free State Rental Co. in 1967.
In 1968, Mr. Siems took over Free State Rental Co. and changed its name to Siems Rental & Sales Co.
The business had offices on Clipper Mill Road in Woodberry and Washington Boulevard, eventually expanding to six locations by the time it was sold in 1997.
"My father was an astute judge of people around him and was very fair and innovative. He also was very friendly and had a great sense of humor, which was always at the top of his list. He always said 'Never lose your sense of humor,' " said a son, Robert L. Siems of Homeland.
"With the business, he figured out that for contractors it made better economic sense to rent rather than own equipment which they may have used only eight times a year," said Mr. Siems.
Mr. Abbott was named the company partner and president in 1995. "I was a Vietnam veteran when he hired me as a master mechanic in 1970, and in the 44 years I've know him, he was the most compassionate and caring individual I've ever met," he said.
"He was my mentor, and I have nothing but the highest respect for him. And every employee felt the same way. You really couldn't have asked for a finer individual," said Mr. Abbott, who is now retired.
The former longtime Roland Park resident who moved to Blakehurst in 2011 was an avid tennis player and Terps fan. He and his wife were also world travelers.
"He had a fine eye on line calls, though some might dispute that," said his son, with a laugh.
"He loved model trains of various gauges and had a large layout," his son said.
Mr. Siems' philanthropic interests included the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Maryland, Gilman School, Roland Park Country School and Garrison Forrest School.
He was a member of the Maryland Club, Baltimore Country Club, St. Andrew's Society and the Boumi Temple.
Mr. Siems was a communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. May 20.
In addition to his son, Mr. Siems is survived by his wife of 62 years, the former Mary Virginia "Ginny" Porter; another son, Porter N. Siems of North Roland Park; and six grandchildren.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun