Donald F. Obrecht Sr., 78, developer


Donald F. Obrecht Sr., a real estate developer and Baltimore businessman, died Sunday of coronary failure at his Ruxton home. He was 78.

Mr. Obrecht, who was semiretired, was founder and president of Tideland Co., a commercial developer, and Wendover Realty Co., builders, both of which he established in the early 1950s.

The businesses were headquartered for years in the historic Roland Park Shopping Center on Roland Avenue before moving to Towson.

Mr. Obrecht began his business career as a real estate broker and Realtor in 1950. After he established his home-building company, he built homes throughout the Baltimore metropolitan area.

In 1956, he and partners James and Joe Keelty built Crestwood, a development of 230 homes in Linthicum Heights. He also built houses in Lutherville and Dickeyville.

After he gave up building houses, Mr. Obrecht remained active in real estate, buying and selling land near Baltimore, and working with developers including the Keeltys, Morris and Morton Macht and Welsh Construction Co.

A gifted man with a quick wit, Mr. Obrecht was a member of many social and cultural organizations.

He was on the board of the Maryland Club for 16 years and was also a member of the Baltimore Country Club, the L'Hirondelle Club and the Moring Golf and Country Club in Naples, Fla., where he had lived for part of the year since 1994.

He was an active member of the Society of Colonial Wars and the International Food and Wine Society, on whose board he had served.

"He was a very energetic individual, who devoted a great deal of time to the organizations he was involved with," said Stuart M. Christhilf III of Baltimore, a longtime friend.

"Donald loved a good time and he had a great interest in people, history, different cultures, and he combined that with his love of fine wine and food," he said.

Born and reared in Roland Park, Mr. Obrecht was the son of Jacob F. Obrecht, former proprietor of the Baltimore wholesale tobacco and cigar-making firm J. F. Obrecht & Co., which produced the Caton Cigar.

A 1940 graduate of the McDonogh School, he attended the University of Virginia until leaving to enlist in the Navy during World War II. He served in the supply corps aboard ships in the Pacific and was discharged as a lieutenant at war's end.

After returning to Baltimore, Mr. Obrecht earned a bachelor's degree from Loyola College in 1946 and attended the University of Maryland law school.

In 1956, he married Carolyn Ann Schmidt, who survives him.

An avid traveler, Mr. Obrecht also enjoyed photography, boating, and duck and goose hunting.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. David's Episcopal Church, 4700 Roland Ave.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Donald F. Obrecht Jr. of Chattanooga, Tenn.; two daughters, Catherine Padgett Kimmick of Durango, Colo., and Caroline Obrecht Snyder of Lutherville; and six grandchildren.

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