Peter W. Traynor III, designer, illustrator


Peter Willoughby Traynor III, a designer and environmentalist and writer and illustrator of children's books, died March 17 of a heart attack at his Woodlawn home. He was 52.

Self-employed for the past 15 years, he worked from a studio in his home on Windsor Mill Road. Earlier, he worked at local advertising agencies -- creative director at the Woods Group; Ashton Worthington Co., and Barton Gillet Co.

His illustrations were exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution during the country's bicentennial and had been shown at the Louvre Museum in Paris. He won awards from the Advertising Association of Baltimore, Printing Industries of Maryland and the Baltimore Art Directors Club.

"He was one of the most talented artists and designers who ever lived," said Edwin Gold, retired creative director and executive vice president of Barton Gillet, a marketing research firm. "He never followed the crowd and always went his own way. Even though he was self-taught, I realized that he was a very promising talent."

A tall, thin man with reddish hair, Mr. Traynor designed artwork for the Learning Bank of Baltimore and Earth Day campaigns.

He was a consultant to Baltimore Resources, a quarterly newspaper on environmental issues.

His most recent book, which he illustrated and designed, was "Cigarettes, Cigarettes the Dirty Rotten Truth About Tobacco." The book shows children dangers of smoking.

At his home, Mr. Traynor created an "imaginative and creative garden where he would spend hours working and sitting in his geodesic dome," said his daughter, Heather Davis of Eldersburg.

A political activist interested in liberal causes and gifted with a refined sense of the outrageous, Mr. Traynor enjoyed listening daily to conservative talk radio and reporting to his friends what he considered the latest buffoonery heard on the air.

"His response was classic," said Tim Reese, a Baltimore graphic arts designer and friend for 20 years. "He would bombard radio stations with his specially designed fax that featured a down-turned smiley face, which earned him the name of the 'Phantom Faxer.' He was unique and a beautiful person."

Born and reared in Baynesville, he was a 1960 graduate of Towson High School and attended the University of Maryland and the Maryland Institute College of Art.

A memorial service was to be held at noon today 1at Koinonia, 1400 Greenspring Valley Road, Stevenson.

Other survivors include a son, Peter W. Traynor IV of Bel Air; a sister, Carol Malarky of Overland, Kan.; and five grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to Maryland Friends of Midwives, Legal Defense Fund, 153 E. Main St., Westminster 21157.

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