Morton C. Pollack, an attorney who served in the General Assembly and was the son of a well-known political boss, died of a heart attack Aug. 24 at Mercy Hospital in Key Biscayne, Fla. The former Ivymount Road resident was 88.
Born in Baltimore and raised on Anoka Avenue, he was the son of James H. "Jack" Pollack, a key player in Baltimore's politics in the 1940s, and his wife, the former Carita Blondheim.
He was a 1947 graduate of McDonogh School, where he played basketball and was captain of the school's tennis team.
He studied pre-law at the University of Maryland, College Park, and later studied at then-Western Maryland College — now McDaniel College — and the University of Michigan. He was a member of the Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity.
Mr. Pollack recalled in a 1951 Sun article that he made his first political speech when he was 13. He spoke at his father's clubhouse, the Trenton Democratic Club on Park Heights Avenue. His father gave him a middle name of Curran after his political ally and close friend, William "Willie" Curran.
"When there's talk about this being the end of an era, this really is the end of an era," said Rochelle "Rikki" Spector, a former member of the Baltimore City Council who represented Northwest Baltimore. "Morty really wanted to be everybody's friend. His father was good and tough, and Morty was good and nice."
He was a first-year student at the University Baltimore School of Law when he was named to fill a vacancy in the Maryland House of Delegates by Gov. Theodore R. McKeldin.
The Sun reported he was, at the time, the youngest member of the General Assembly.
"Right now I'm very anxious to become a good lawyer — and I love politics," he said in 1951. "To me, the definition of a politician is one who is well versed in the affairs of the government of the city and state, who is also a diplomat."
He was sworn in Dec. 6, 1951. The Sun said Jack Pollack "beamed last night like a man who has just hit the $100,000 jackpot." The news account described the State House as being filled with well-wishers from Baltimore. "Just about everybody who is anybody in the Pollack organization was there. And every other district in the city was represented by at least one or two Democrats," The Sun said.
"Morty was the son of a very powerful man who was also a very tough father," said Barbara Oberfeld Mandel, former wife of the late Gov. Marvin Mandel. "Morty did what his father wanted him to do. Morty loved people and befriended many. He tried very hard. I think people felt sorry for him because he had to live up to his father. That was a hard job."
Mr. Pollack completed his law degree and was re-elected to the House of Delegates twice. He served until 1958. He later served on the Maryland State Employment Appeals Board.
"He was dynamic, the quintessence of a good attorney," said a longtime friend, Manuela I. Eisman of Cross Keys. "He had a good heart. You called him and he was always there for you."
He succeeded his father at the Trenton Democratic Club, a once-powerful clubhouse whose influence began to erode in the late 1950s. He moved the club to the basement of his home in the Ranchleigh section of Northwest Baltimore on Ivymount Road.
"When I first ran for political office, I was told the Trenton Club met every Thursday night," said Del. Sandy Rosenberg. "It was a way for me to get to know the guys and gals there. Morty endorsed me.
"He remained a loyal Democrat. He also had his opinions," said Mr. Rosenberg. "I didn't agree with everything he said, and he didn't hold it against me."
Mr. Pollack established a criminal law practice at the Equitable Building in downtown Baltimore. His clients included figures from East Baltimore Street's Block nightclubs and bars. Friends recalled that Mr. Pollack had been a friend of entertainer Blaze Starr.
Mr. Pollack was an animal lover and owned a number of dogs, including a Great Dane.
Services were held Friday at Sol Levinson and Sons.
Survivors include his wife, Mary Rodriguez, and two stepsons, John Munoz and Fred Munoz, all of Florida. His daughter, Stephanie Pollack, died more than 20 years ago. His father died in 1977. His 1951 marriage to Frances Eberlin ended in divorce. Other marriages also ended in divorce.