Former Carroll County Delegate William B. Dulany was remembered by friends, family, community leaders, and colleagues at a celebration of his life, accomplishments and legacy at a service at the Beasman Auditorium at Fairhaven in Sykesville earlier in the month.
Dulany was 89 when he passed away on March 19, 2017. A Carroll County native son, Dulany was born in Sykesville, where he served as the class president at Sykesville High School before he graduated and joined the Navy during World War II.
Many of us had gathered at Fairhaven early and traded memories of the various ways Dulany had touched and enriched our lives. He was a larger than life icon in the community and most of us spoke in hushed tones about our past experiences with Dulany and how he helped shape the Carroll County we know today.
Folks from all walks of life attended the service. McDaniel College was represented. Dulany was a 1950 graduate of Western Maryland College, now McDaniel. He served on the college's board of trustees from 1976 to 2006.
The Carroll County Bar was also well represented. He was considered to be the senior member of the bar. He joined the local bar in 1960. After he graduated from law school in 1953, he took a brief detour and served in a downtown Baltimore law firm before returning to his roots in Carroll County in 1959. Once he arrived back in Westminster, he became a founding partner of the firm that we knew in the 1960s, as "Dulany and Davis" at 123 E. Main St.
In those days this was the center of Carroll County's kinetic brain trust. The offices were next to the Charles Carroll Hotel, and the Union National Bank, across the street from a bus stop that served a daily bus route to downtown Baltimore and just a few doors down from the Opera House Theater, the Davis Library, the Westminster United Methodist Church, the Westminster Post Office, Shaffer's store, and the Democratic Advocate newspaper office. Not to be overlooked, the Court House, Cockey's Tavern, the county offices in the Court House Annex and Westminster City Hall were all within an easy walking distance.
No wonder Dulany had his finger on the pulse of all the big changes of the 1960s when county and state government reinvented itself. Maryland Court of Appeals Judge Joe Getty said in an interview, "Bill served in the House of Delegates from 1963-66 and received the highest votes from Carroll County as delegate to the State Constitutional Convention of 1967-68. It was a period of great legal reform in Maryland with integration of public schools, restructuring of the Maryland court system and legislative redistricting of the state under the Supreme Court's one-person, one-vote decision in Baker v. Carr."
In a March 23 story in the Carroll County Times, by Emily Chappell; Brooks Leahy, a partner at the firm, spoke for many when he observed that Dulany "was a mentor to a lot of people. … A lot of people practiced law with him over the years …"
Carroll County has been fortunate to have many native sons and daughters who made a great difference and contribution to our community. Before the service, I had a chance to talk with Amber Curtis, a current partner of Dulany Leahy Curtis & Beach LLP. She keenly elaborated that Dulany, along with longstanding attorneys Charles Fisher Sr. (June 15, 1917–June 22, 2012) and Ralph Hoffman, (Feb. 23, 1910–Sept. 15, 1994,) touched so many lives in the community. Because these three mentored so many current community leaders in the county, our community is blessed to have so many women and men who possess the values, integrity, wit, and wisdom — and the institutional memory, to carry forward the history and traditions of the county into the future.
Getty spoke for many when he observed, "Bill was proud to have contributed during this time with so many legal challenges confronting Maryland and he served with the greatest integrity and honor for the citizens of Carroll County."
We will miss Dulany's soft reassuring tone of voice and encyclopedic mind, but fortunately his legacy lives on to serve us well in our community today.