Frederick W. Arscott, an Ellicott City financial executive with interests that ranged from flying to sports cars and photography, died Thursday in a traffic accident. He was 47.
Mr. Arscott was killed when a 12-ton roll of steel fell from a flatbed truck and struck his car while he was driving to his job at G Street Fabrics in Rockville, where he was chief financial officer.
He was married to Carol Arscott, co-president of an Annapolis polling firm and a longtime Republican Party activist.
Mrs. Arscott and friends described him as a quiet man of sharp intelligence who mastered everything he undertook.
When he was 14 years old, he took apart and reassembled a Volkswagen engine. Years later, he made himself an expert in digital photography, filling his basement with the latest equipment and his walls with his photos of mountains, streams and trees.
"Fred was a guy who was very passionate about everything he did," said Mrs. Arscott, his wife of 24 years. "He never did anything halfway. He got interested in flying and bought a plane, discovered that was too expensive and got interested in motorcycles.
"He would have been a great teacher," said Mrs. Arscott, a partner in Gonzales-Arscott Research & Communications Inc. "He could explain anything to anyone. Everything he did, he did well."
His death shocked friends and business associates and attracted wide attention in Annapolis - occurring the day a House committee considered legislation that would impose stiff penalties on truckers who drive with poorly secured loads.
He was killed while driving his metallic blue BMW on Route 108 near the Montgomery County-Howard County line.
"It was just an unbelievable shock to everybody," said Carol Hirschburg, a Republican political consultant and close family friend. "There is no justice."
She added: "He was just an extremely generous, good person, always helpful to me and everyone else with all kinds of things."
Mr. Arscott was born in Methuen, Mass. and raised in the Boston area. He attended Roxbury Latin School, graduating in 1972, and earned his undergraduate degree in marketing from Georgetown University.
While in college, he conducted a marketing survey for the Hechinger's hardware chain. Though only a school project, it so impressed company officials that they later made him a management trainee and assistant store manager.
Soon, he left Hechinger's and went to work for the Connecticut General Life Insurance Co., selling life insurance and annuities out of the company offices in McLean, Va., and Columbia.
He sold policies by cold-calling property and casualty brokers, and forging relationships that gave him access to their clients. Through this work, he met Tom Clancy, the future best-selling author who at the time was writing The Hunt for Red October but was still working as an insurance broker in Maryland.
Later, Mr. Arscott helped Clancy become part of the investment group, headed by Peter G. Angelos, that purchased the Baltimore Orioles in 1993. Mr. Arscott worked briefly as the team's chief administrative officer, moving on to work as finance chief of the That's Amore chain of Italian restaurants.
Two years ago, he joined G Street Fabrics, a Washington-area retailer, as the company's chief financial officer.
Though he shared his wife's conservative political philosophy, he remained "a reluctant political spouse," said Mrs. Arscott, the former chairwoman of the Howard County Republican Party and a former GOP campaign consultant.
"More than anything, he was crazy about his kids," she said. His son, Dean Arscott, and daughter, Leigh Arscott, are students at Wilde Lake High School in Columbia.
Two summers ago, after Mr. Arscott and his son went on a canoeing trip, he bought a boat and filled the garage with canoeing and fishing gear. He also loved to bicycle long distances around the local countryside.
A memorial Mass will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church at Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, 10431 Twin Rivers Road, Columbia.
Besides his wife and two children, he is survived by his father, Samuel L. Arscott of Norwood, Mass., and brothers Richard Arscott of Dedham, Mass., and Kevin Arscott of Babylon, N.Y.