Paul Spadone Jr., 73, helped develop Columbia, life-care communities

Paul Spadone Jr., a development official who helped build Columbia and later created life-care communities sponsored by church organizations, died of cancer Friday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. The Owings Mills resident was 73.

Born in New York City and raised in Manhasset, Long Island, he was a graduate of Hill School in Pottstown, Pa. He earned a degree in industrial administration from Yale University, where he played football and belonged to the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.


After Navy service from 1953 to 1956, in which he was an officer aboard the destroyer USS McNair in the North Atlantic, he worked with the American Can Co. in New York and as a construction superintendent on several Manhattan projects, including Lincoln Center, the Chase Manhattan Bank and the Columbia University School of Law.

In 1965, he moved to Owings Mills and became vice president and senior project director of the Rouse Co. subsidiary Howard Research and Development Co., then engaged in the initial work to build Columbia. He also worked on Rouse shopping centers in Cherry Hill, N.J., and the Village of Cross Keys in Baltimore.


In the 1970s, Mr. Spadone entered a new field as a private consultant specializing in life-care communities for the elderly.

"He worked out a solution to help people grow old," said Dr. Douglas G. Carroll, a friend and former emergency physician.

Beginning in 1976, he worked through Maryland Episcopal Ministries to the Aging to develop Fairhaven in Sykesville. He later did consulting for Stella Maris in Timonium, Pickersgill in Towson, Glen Meadows in Notchcliff and Londonderry in Easton.

"Most people realize that their health conditions change and they become less independent," Mr. Spadone told The Sun in 1977. "Instead of being put in a nursing home where they have no hope and perhaps staying there for four or five years, which is extremely disruptive emotionally, they will be near their friends."

"He was the man who got Fairhaven built," said Richard L. Cover, a former Rouse executive who, as an Episcopal layman, was involved in the project. "He saw to it that things went the way they were supposed to be. He knew a great deal about the life-care community business."

Family members said he often sailed from Newport, R.I., to the Chesapeake Bay. He recently designed a collapsible, lightweight dinghy for emergency use. He also enjoyed hiking in New Hampshire's White Mountains, Acadia National Park in Maine and Mount Rainier in Washington. He carved the name of each summit he climbed on a walking stick he used.

"He was a person who set high goals for himself, and he often achieved them," said his son, Paul Spadone III of Los Angeles. "My father had a serious nature, but underneath it, he had a sense of whimsy that he applied to his creative endeavors."

He recalled his father walking through Baltimore County woodland, collecting samples of leaves -- and later painting a mural of them.


"He was meticulous and organized. There was a scientific thoroughness to his approach, but what he created was lyrical," the son said of the painting. "He brought an artist's eye to his work."

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. tomorrow at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Garrison, where Mr. Spadone was a communicant.

Mr. Spadone also is survived by his wife of more than 30 years, the former Laura Talbot Whitmer; two daughters, Laura T. Spadone of Baltimore and Allison B. Spadone of San Francisco; and a sister, Nancy S. Calabrese of Stamford, N.Y.