Michael B. Rafferty, hardware store owner

Michael Burns Rafferty, who owned hardware businesses in Baltimore, died Sept. 28 of complications of Alzheimer's disease at Heatherwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Newport, R.I. The former Guilford resident was 76.

Born in Providence, R.I., he attended Phillips Exeter Academy and earned a bachelor's degree in business from Yale University.

Mr. Rafferty moved to Baltimore in the late 1960s and initially lived on Tyson Street after his marriage to the former Suzanne Lear, an artist and designer. In 1969, the couple was featured in The Sun's magazine when they opened their home for a neighborhood tour that benefited the Medical Eye Bank.

The article described how he searched for antiques on nearby Howard Street and refinished them for the home.

Mr. Rafferty was a salesman for the Scott Lumber Co. In 1978, he opened Inner Harbor Lumber and Hardware on Fleet Street in Inner Harbor East. A Baltimore Sun article described him as a "tall, slim man dressed in tweeds and corduroy." He said the store's location was key to home renovation efforts in Fells Point, Otterbein and Federal Hill. He opened a second unit in 1982 on York Road in what had been a streetcar barn.

After those businesses closed nearly 20 years ago, he became an official of Designer's Hardware, on Read Street in Mount Vernon.

Family members said the Read Street shop featured high-quality plumbing fixtures and unusual hardware fittings. In a 2005 article in Chesapeake Home and Living, he described his brass locks and door pulls as "house jewelry."

He and his wife of 37 years later lived on Millbrook Road in Guilford. About a decade ago, they moved to Little Compton, R.I. She died in 2006.

Mr. Rafferty followed sports and played golf.

Survivors include his daughter, Alison R. Ouchna of Springfield, Va.; and two granddaughters.

Plans for a memorial service were incomplete.


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