Joseph Robinson Barry Tubman, a retired investment counselor at the old Baker, Watts firm, died of the coronavirus May 8 at his home in the Roland Park Place Retirement Community. The former Timonium resident was 91.
Born in Baltimore and raised in Ruxton, he was the son of Samuel Alexander Tubman III, a trucking executive, and his wife, Agnes Champe Conway Barry, a real estate agent. He was a 1945 graduate of Boys’ Latin School, where he played football and lacrosse and was basketball team captain. He was a member of the senior council.
He earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance and Commerce and was president of its Delta Phi fraternity, also known as the St. Elmo Club. He played lacrosse and belonged to the Mask and Wig Show and Club.
After serving in the Maryland National Guard, Mr. Tubman joined the Air Force and graduated from its Office of Special Investigations School. He was trained in military law and counter-intelligence and worked in espionage and sabotage investigations in Washington, D.C. He left the military as a captain.
“My father told colorful stories about his past that never failed to shock his children, who saw him as a strait-laced father figure,” said his son, J. Barry Tubman of Weston, Massachusetts. “He spent time with [actress and later princess] Grace Kelly at college parties where her brother Jack was my father’s classmate. He said he was a gigolo or dancing partner on cruise ships during college to make money. And he told of surveilling a notorious female enemy agent in Washington, D.C., during the Korean War.”
He earned a law degree at the University of Maryland School of Law.
Mr. Tubman joined the Equitable Trust Co. and later sold securities for Baker, Watts & Co. in downtown Baltimore. He rose to became a partner and sat on its executive committee. He became a managing director after the firm became Ferris Baker Watts and retired in 2006.
“Everyone called him Bro Tubman, and he had a large client base and those clients loved him,” said a former colleague, Randolph W. Brinton. “He was dedicated to them and was also thorough and precise.”
His son also said, “My father felt strongly about helping clients build wealth. He focused on fundamental research, buying quality holdings for the long term, and minimizing expenses.”
Mr. Tubman used used a simple example of how to save. He called it his Little Brown Jug and told his clients to envision a gallon jug with the bottom cut off.
“He said think of income going in the wide open bottom and expenses going out the very narrow mouth,” his son said.
“He had seen the difficulties families faced when they lost their wealth,” his son said. “And he made a career of learning how families can invest wisely, and he shared that wisdom.”
Guy V. Palmeri Jr., who worked with Mr. Tubman, said, "He was an upbeat person who had the patience to explain concepts to younger members of the firm who might have missed something. He was a great mentor. "
Mr. Tubman was a board member of the Maryland School for the Blind and the Kennedy Krieger Institute. He also served on the board of the Woodbourne Center and what is now the United Way of Central Maryland.
He was a member of the Bachelors Cotillon and the L’Hirondelle and Merchants clubs.
Mr. Tubman met his future wife, Kathryn Dillon “Kit” Geraghty, a former Baltimore Sun reporter, on a blind date. They married in 1963.
“Mom and Dad were a great team. They shared mutual values,” said his son. “He took inspiration from his ancestors and challenged his children to live up to their achievements. His Tubman relatives were early settlers in Dorchester County and he was descended from Edmund Randolph, a Virginia governor. He was proud they were early immigrants to America who faced challenges and became highly successful.”
Mr. Tubman was a dog fancier and owned golden retrievers and an English setter. He enjoyed spending weekend time outdoors working on his property.
In addition to his son, survivors include a daughter, Kathryn Tubman Cameron of Glyndon; and two granddaughters. His wife of 51 years died in 2014.
Plans for a memorial service are incomplete.