William J. Urban, activist, publisher of gay...

William J. Urban, activist, publisher of gay newspaper

William J. Urban, founder, publisher and editor of the Baltimore Alternative, a gay newspaper, died yesterday of complications to AIDS. He was 37.


Mr. Urban had battled AIDS for almost six years. In the years since his diagnosis, he chronicled his experiences with the illness in articles appearing in community publications on the Eastern Shore, where he was raised, as well as in his own newspaper.

He was born in Lancaster, Pa. He graduated from Kent High School in Worton in 1973 and attended several colleges and universities, including the University of California at Santa Barbara and, in Baltimore, Loyola College and Coppin State College.


As a student, Mr. Urban worked as a congressional page for then-Rep. Rogers C. B. Morton, a Maryland Republican, and received an Outstanding Young Men of America award in 1979. He worked as a systems controller for USF&G; from 1978 to 1981, and as a reporter and advertising sales manager for the Baltimore Gaypaper in 1984 and 1985.

Mr. Urban founded the Baltimore Alternative in 1986, committing the newspaper to extensive coverage of the AIDS epidemic, and to the civil and privacy rights of gays and lesbians. Mr. Urban was particularly interested in educating young people about the dangers of acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and was in great demand as a public speaker, appearing before several high school audiences in Maryland.

"He could not stand injustice," said Garey Lambert, a friend who is associate editor of the Alternative and director of AIDS Action Baltimore. "And he was feisty and tenacious in his battles. His specific battle had to do with AIDS and gay rights, but injustice was the thing that was at the core of his anger. He just could not stand it."

Mr. Urban frequently called the hosts of radio talk shows and debated with them, feeling they had maligned the gay community and people with AIDS. He said he knew he never could change their minds, but could not allow their views to go unchallenged.

"He was not afraid of any battle, or any fight or anybody in any fight," Mr. Lambert said. "He went right after them if he thought he had a case."

Until deteriorating health curtailed his activities in recent months, Mr. Urban was a member of the board of directors of the Chase-Brexton Clinic; the steering committee of the AIDS Interfaith Council of Baltimore; the Baltimore Justice Campaign, and the AIDS Partnership Council.

He was a founding member of the People with AIDS Coalition in Baltimore.

Mr. Urban is survived by his parents, Harvey and Ann Greenwood of Chestertown, and his life-partner, Charles Mueller.


The family suggested memorial contributions to AIDS Action Baltimore Inc., 2105 N. Charles St. 21218.

A memorial service for Andrew Phillip G. Schlegel Jr., a former General Motors manager and real estate agent, will be at 7 tonight at Chestnut Grove Presbyterian Church on Sweet Air Road in Phoenix.

Mr. Schlegel, 61, died Monday at Greater Baltimore Medical Center of complications from abdominal surgery.

Born in Philadelphia, he moved to Baltimore as a boy, living in the Northwood area. He went to city schools and later attended Towson State University and the University of Baltimore.

In 1951, he married Margot Petersdorf, who died in 1976.

During the Korean War, he served as a sergeant in the Air Force and was stationed in France. He remained in the reserves until 1958.


Mr. Schlegel worked for 32 years as a production manager at the General Motors plant on Broening Highway. In the early 1980s, he joined Coldwell Banker as a real estate agent, and more recently he worked in manufacturing and sales with Prime Technology in Cockeysville. He retired a year ago.

He and his wife of 15 years, the former Norma K. McGinty, traveled extensively. The Baldwin resident was also an avid golfer and tennis player, and he enjoyed gardening. He was active at Chestnut Grove Presbyterian Church, where he was chairman of the board of deacons until last year.

In addition to his wife, survivors include one son, Andrew Fred Schlegel of Bel Air; three daughters, Barbara A. Conner of Baltimore, Susan E. Dunning of Laurel and Patricia J. Schlegel of Gunnison, Colo.; his father, Andrew Phillip Schlegel Sr. of Sun City Center, Fla.; two sisters, Jean Darling of Williamsburg, Va., and Betty Lou Chant of Lincoln, Neb.; two stepsons, Michael McGinty of San Diego, Calif., and Kevin McGinty of Pylesville; and eight grandchildren.

The family suggested memorial donations to Chestnut Grove Presbyterian Church or any charity.

Russell Underwood



Services for Russell W. Underwood, a retired longshoreman, will be held at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow at Fountain Baptist Church, 1215 E. Monument St., where he was a faithful member for 60 years.

Mr. Underwood died Sunday of liver failure at Bon Secours Hospital. He was 74.

He grew up on Eager Street in East Baltimore and attended local PTC schools. For a time, he worked as a paperhanger for his late father, Orville Underwood.

From 1940 to 1980, he was a longshoreman. After his retirement, he and his wife enjoyed travel to family reunions and other trips.

He is survived by his wife, the former Ruby Delphia Oglesby, whom he married in 1944; a daughter, Ruby Jean Underwood of Baltimore; a son, R. Joel Underwood of Phoenix; and three grandchildren.