Lewis C. Strudwick

Lewis C. Strudwick (Mike Ciesielsky Photography / November 6, 2009)

Lewis C. Strudwick, a former partner in the Baltimore law firm of Ober/Kaler who had a penchant for drawing whimsical cartoons and a taste for culinary oddities, died Jan. 22 of complications from Parkinson's disease at Heron Point retirement community in Chestertown. He was 82.

"Lewis was the consummate transactional lawyer, with an innate business sense and attention to detail," said Alan J. Mogol, a principal with Ober/Kaler who co-chairs the firm's finance group. "He was a counselor and not just a draftsman, making his client aware of the issues and consequences so they could make an informed decision. He was my mentor and will be missed."

The son of Frederick Nash Strudwick, a businessman, and Mary Esther Tilghman, Lewis Castleman Strudwick was born in Richmond, Va., where he spent his early years until moving with his family in 1941 to Salisbury.

After graduating from McDonogh School in 1948, he earned a bachelor's degree in 1952 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

He was a 1954 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law and subsequently served in the Army before earning a master's degree in finance in 1958 from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

In 1957, Mr. Strudwick married the former Phoebe Shelby McNelly.

Mr. Strudwick began his legal career in Baltimore at Cable & McDaniel and in 1969 joined what was then Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver, where he spent his 45-year career with the firm's business and tax groups.

Mr. Strudwick's expertise was helping clients establish new businesses as well as the sale, dissolution and equitable disposition of assets from existing businesses.

One of Mr. Strudwick's longtime and favorite clients was Samuel Kirk & Sons, the Baltimore silversmith that was the oldest such firm in the country. It merged in 1979 with the Stieff Co., which had been established by Charles C. Stieff in Baltimore, to form Kirk-Stieff.

"Lewis was a deal maker and very particular. While handling complex matters, he'd draw schematics with blank diagrams, and then he'd decorate them with cartoons," said John A. Wolf, chairman of Ober/Kaler. "He was very famous for that."

Mr. Wolf said that his friend could appear to be "austere at first but was actually a very warm and caring guy who loved mentoring young lawyers."

Mr. Strudwick was a member of the American Bar Association, Bar Association of Baltimore City, and the Maryland State Bar Association.

Mr. Strudwick was something of a charming eccentric who brought an enormous curiosity and a certain quirky blithe spirit to life.

"He absolutely adored driving a two-seater Porsche. ... It was the cheapest one you could buy and was painted racing yellow. I mean, it didn't fit his image at all," Mr. Wolf said with a laugh.

He was a past president of the North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati and a former president of the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Maryland. He also had served on the board of Planned Parenthood of Maryland and was a member of the Bachelor's Cotillon and The Assembly.

Mr. Strudwick had been a member of the Maryland Club since 1958 and was a former board member. He was also an active member of the Wednesday Club, which meets at the Maryland Club.

A gourmand and connoisseur of the unusual, the longtime Poplar Hill resident and his wife hosted an annual winter terrapin dinner for years for those who appreciate this ancient Maryland specialty, which was often accompanied by a fine vintage Madeira.

"He was tall, conservative and always well-dressed. He was the Adolphe Menjou or Heywood Hale Broun of the Maryland Club," said Walter Schamu, a Baltimore architect and club member. "He was always the picture of sartorial splendor and always had lots of stories. He really was a hail-fellow-well-met and a fixture at the club."

The club was the setting in 1999 when Mr. Strudwick had the club's chef cook up 25 gallons of burgoo, a dish that is brown in color and native to Kentucky. It was served in bowls to invited guests.

He deflected all entreaties as to its contents until the luncheon was consumed and then he rose to his feet and explained that burgoo is sometimes called a "hunter's stew."

"Beef chuck, bear breasts, lamb shank, wild boar shank, venison neck, muskrat, rabbit, pheasant, chuckers, ducks (mallards and buffleheads), chicken, country ham, antelope liver," said Mr. Strudwick in an article in The Baltimore Sun that recounted the "mystery dish" luncheon.

A talented cartoonist who enjoyed drawing humorous cards and cartoons for friends, Mr. Strudwick also collected the works of Thomas Rowlandson, the 18th-century caricaturist who was known for his bawdy subject matter, as well as works by George Cruikshank and Thomas Pegg.

Mr. Strudwick was an avid traveler and enjoyed frequent trips to Europe and spending February in Barbados and summers on Little Cranberry Island in Maine.

A resident of Chestertown since 2007, Mr. Strudwick was a communicant of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Baltimore, where he served on the vestry.

Services are private.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Strudwick is survived by a son, Frederick Nash Strudwick II of Nantucket, Mass.; two daughters, Shelby Tilghman Strudwick of Piedmont, Calif., and Andrea Lewis Strudwick Bender of Edina, Minn.; and seven grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com