Philip Lazarony dies at 66; owned music...


Philip Lazarony dies at 66; owned music stores

A memorial Mass for Philip S. Lazarony, who owned the Record Collection Laser Disc Center in the 500 block of N. Charles St., will be offered at 9 a.m. today at St. Ursula's Roman Catholic Church, 8801 Harford Road.

The Catalpha Road resident died Wednesday of a heart attack while at his store. He was 66.

From 1974 to 1981, he owned a rare bookstore in Bethesda that became a rare recordings business, Record Collections.

For several years before that, he was general manager of the automobile dealership that is now Brown's Honda City in Glen Burnie.

The native of Fredonia, N.Y., served in the Army at the end of World War II.

After his graduation from Marietta College in Ohio, he studied languages in Switzerland and later worked for Stars and Stripes in Germany.

He taught at a high school in Niagara Falls, N.Y., before moving to Baltimore in the mid-1960s. He established Philip S. Lazarony Bookseller, a store on Greenmount Avenue above 33rd Street in Waverly that became the present Second Story Books.

In the early 1970s, he operated a mail-order business in scholarly works about Latin America.

In the 1960s and 1970s, he was active in Republican politics.

Mr. Lazarony's enthusiasms included puns, philosophy, computers, gardening and cooking as well as music.

He is survived by his wife, the former Margot A. Lederhaus, whom he met in Germany; four daughters, Marquita Edwards of Santa Cruz, Calif., Rita Lazaroni of Westport, Conn., and Renata Lazzaroni and Angela Lazarony, both of Baltimore; a son, Gregory Lazzaroni of Owings Mills; a sister, Lena L. Stratton of Westfield, N.Y.; six brothers, Horace Lazarony of Dunkirk, N.Y., Vincent Lazarony of San Antonio, Texas, Larry Smith of Hornell, N.Y., Richard Lazarony of Colorado Springs, Colo., Donald Lazarony of Santa Anna, Calif., and Louis Lazaron of Fort Myers, Fla.; and three granddaughters.

OC The family suggested memorial contributions to Our Daily Bread.

Robert E. Brown Jr.

Naval Academy worker

Robert E. Brown Jr., an Annapolis native and retired supervisor in the commissary of the U. S. Naval Academy who had been a waterman and was trained as a draftsman, died of cancer on March 25 at a daughter's home in Severna Park. He was 87.

When he was in the fourth grade, his father, waterman John Brown, was forced to take him out of school to work on the family's oyster boat. And when he was in his teens, the death of his parents left him responsible for his brother and two sisters.

Wanting an education and interested in architecture, Mr. Brown worked during the day as a waterman and traveled each evening by train from Annapolis to Baltimore to attend the old Maryland Institute on Market Place, where he studied drafting. In 1927, he graduated in the top 10 percent of his class.

Although he drew on his education to design and perform 90 percent of the work on the Anne Arundel County home he built for his family, he turned from architecture as a career to take what he termed safer employment at the Naval Academy, where he worked for 38 years. He retired as a commissary chief at the age of 55.

Mr. Brown is survived by his wife of 58 years, the former Frances D. Mewshaw; a son, Robert E. Brown Jr. of Baltimore; twin daughters, Lynn Stefan of Towson and Leah Robertson of Severna Park; two sisters, Mary Jones of Annapolis and Gladys Gebhardt of North Carolina; two granddaughters; and four grandsons.

E9 A memorial service was held in Annapolis on March 27.

Virginia Smith Owen

Musical producer, singer

Virginia Smith Owen, musical producer and director, opera singer and coach of young singers during a long career, died of heart failure on Feb. 29 at St. Joseph Hospital in Towson. She was 87.

Born in Greensboro, N.C., the former Virginia Smith was educated at Salem College in Winston-Salem, N.C., and attended the Julliard School of Music in New York. She sang lead roles with several opera companies before moving in the early 1930s to Baltimore, where she remained active in music and the theater.

In 1947 she founded the Valley Players. Her first production was "The Merry Widow," in the St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church auditorium on Calvert Street, now the site of Center Stage.

She presented productions under the name of Starlight Musicals until 1961, when she reorganized it as Metropolitan Musicals. It presented several productions at the Lyric Theatre.

Called "Misso" by her many friends, she also cherished the nickname "Josh" given her by R. H. Gardner, former drama critic for The Sun, who had referred to her as "the Joshua Logan of Baltimore."

In 1964, Mrs. Owen staged "Irma La Douce," in the Southern Hotel ballroom with food catered by the hotel. She repeated her dinner theater performances at the Friendship Hotel and the Hickory Inn near Bel Air.

She produced and directed "Eyes-a-Poppin," a gentle spoof of then-Mayor William Donald Schaefer and the "b'hoys at City Hall" for the Paint and Powder Club.

In recent years, she devoted her time to coaching young singers for recitals, choir solos, theatrical appearances or auditions.

She is survived by a son, William A. Hunter of Towson; and a grandson, Scott William Hunter of Wilmington.

A memorial service is being planned. The family suggested memorial contributions to the American Heart Association.

James A. Lesh

Social Security official

James A. Lesh, who retired in 1973 as chief of classification for the Social Security Administration, died April 24 at St. Agnes Hospital of complications from kidney failure.

Services for Mr. Lesh, who was 76 and lived in Catonsville, were held Thursday at the Catonsville United Methodist Church.

He started to work for Social Security in Baltimore in 1949. Earlier, he worked for the Veterans Administration in Baltimore.

The native of Scranton, Pa., attended Western Maryland College. He served in the Army during World War II.

He is survived by his wife, the former Parvis Robinson; a son, Julian R. Lesh of Ellicott City; a brother, George B. Lesh of Walkersville; and two grandchildren.

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