Manuel M. Nicolaides, an attorney who served for many years on the Baltimore County property tax appeals board, died of congestive heart failure Monday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Timonium resident was 92.
"Manny served with distinction for many years on the Baltimore County Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board, including as its chairman," said attorney Peter G. Angelos. "I had the greatest affection for Manny, who was my friend for over half a century.
"He was always upbeat, smiling and optimistic. As an attorney, he carried these traits into the courtroom and enjoyed great success. He was everyone's friend. As an accomplished lawyer of unquestioned integrity, Manny had complete dedication to the representation of his clients."
Born on Rhodes in Greece, he came to the U.S. with his parents when he was 5. The family initially lived in Pittsburgh and moved to Baltimore in 1932. They lived in the 4800 block of Eastern Ave., where his father, Mike, had a tailoring business. His mother, Evangeline, was a homemaker.
He attended Patterson Park High School and was a 1940 graduate of City College, where he played varsity baseball. The family remained at the same address for many years.
He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he belonged to the ROTC and to the debate and boxing teams. He also helped establish the school's radio station, then called the Old Line Network, and was its program director.
As a graduating senior, he was ordered into military service during World War II. Family members said he received his undergraduate diploma in the mail while at the University of Notre Dame Midshipman's School. There he was trained in the operation of amphibious craft and was later assigned to the USS Mount Olympus in the Pacific. He left military service as a lieutenant.
Family members said that while in Japan, Mr. Nicolaides and friends in the military drove to Nagasaki, where an atomic bomb had recently been detonated.
In 1946, he began his law school studies at George Washington University, where he earned a degree. He was admitted to the Maryland bar in 1950 and practiced law on Eastern Avenue near his father's tailoring shop and the Ikaros restaurant. He later had offices in the Equitable Building and on Dundalk Avenue.
"He was a great contract reader and could go through a document very quickly, make his notes and sort out all the details," said his son-in-law, Christopher George of Towson. "He was also a brilliant letter writer who liked to quote Shakespeare."
He was named to the Baltimore County Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board in the 1970s and served for three decades.
"He was an unusual arbiter in that he always listened and always tried to find the middle ground to accommodate everyone who took the time to appeal," said Tom Toporovich, a former secretary to the Baltimore County Council who lives in Dundalk. "If the person presented a reasonable argument and had a legitimate reason, he tried to work with them. He was probably one of the best tax appeals commissioners in the state."
Colleagues recalled that he was often able to keep tax assessment disputes from going into further litigation in a state tax court.
"Manny went a long way trying to make everybody happy," said Bernard Semon, a Cedarcroft resident and real estate appraiser who appeared before Mr. Nicolaides.
Norman Lauenstein, a former chairman of the Baltimore County Council who lives in Essex, said, "Manny had a nice, soft personality. He was fair."
Mr. Nicolaides often returned to Greece and while on a vacation to Rhodes in 1963, he met his future wife, Barbara Botsaris.
His son, Chris Nicolaides, who lives in Jacksonville, recalled attending a funeral visitation with his father.
"He was smiling and laughing with friends," his son said. "I took him to the side and said, "Dad, how can you laugh at a viewing?' He said, 'I choose to celebrate his life, not his death.' "
Mr. Nicolaides was an avid bowler and played golf. He served on the board of ICVN, a technology company based in Timonium.
Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 2504 Cub Hill Road in Parkville, where he was a member.
In addition to his wife of nearly 50 years and his son, survivors include another son, Michael Nicolaides of Towson; a daughter, Eva George of Towson; and four grandchildren.