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B. Tyrous Addison, 76, entrepreneur, veteran


B. Tyrous "Terry" Addison, an entrepreneur and decorated Air Force veteran who was active in African-American business circles, died of congestive heart failure Saturday at Good Samaritan Hospital. The Govans resident was 76.

Born in Lumberton, N.C., Mr. Addison was one of 12 children. He worked on his family's tenant tobacco farm until he was 18, and won a partial scholarship to Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C.

He lacked money to complete his education and enlisted in the Air Force, serving in the Korean War and completing 50 combat missions as an aerial gunner and gunner instructor. He attained the rank of sergeant and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, among other decorations.

He then moved to Baltimore and took a job at Bethlehem Steel's Sparrows Point mill - where he lasted about a week.

"They had him pushing a wheelbarrow, and he got mad, quit, came home and found another job," said his son, Eric Tyrous Addison of Pikesville.

He became a postal clerk - a night job that allowed him to earn a mathematics degree at Morgan State University.

From 1959 to 1966, he was a computer systems analyst at Aberdeen Proving Ground's Ballistics Research Laboratory, and he later worked in contracts and radar simulation at AAI Corp. in Cockeysville, and for Commercial Credit Corp. He retired in 1979 from another federal job, working with computers for the Health Care Financing Administration at the Social Security Administration site in Woodlawn.

"Business was always his first love," his son said, noting that his father often owned businesses in addition to holding his computer jobs.

In the 1960s, Mr. Addison bought a Gay Street tavern, the A&L; Bar, and then owned the North End Lounge at the eastern end of North Avenue. He also sold insurance.

"He was a good, aggressive business person," said Earl D. Lowery, a friend and former business partner. "He had great ideas and could get people into the bar through little promotions."

In 1973, Mr. Addison founded Atlas Insurance Agency Inc., now located in Owings Mills, and was its president at his death. He also opened Business Travel Centre Inc. and merged it with Mondawmin Travel Center in 1988.

In 1983, he joined Raymond V. Haysbert Sr., then president of Parks Sausage Co., and radio station owner Dorothy Brunson to buy The Forum Caterers Inc. in Northwest Baltimore. He sold his interest in 1990.

"Terry was a dynamic person and a true salesman," Mr. Haysbert said yesterday. "He taught me not to overlook the risk in a business situation. Sometimes I listened to him, and sometimes I didn't."

Family members said he was an advocate for economic development among African-Americans and joined Mr. Haysbert and Ms. Brunson in founding an organization of black-owned, Baltimore-based companies called Presidents' RoundTable Inc. He had earlier worked with another business group, The Hub Organization.

He also served on the Minority Resource Committee of the Metropolitan Planning Center at the Johns Hopkins University from 1980 to 1984.

In 1984, he was named Man of the Year by the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Club.

A fitness buff, Mr. Addison often began his day with a 6:30 a.m. workout at the Merritt Downtown Athletic Club.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, 2110 Madison Ave., where he was a member. A 10 a.m. wake precedes the service.

In addition to his son, survivors include his wife of 50 years, the former Mary Juanita Logan; a daughter, Cheryl Addison Wilson of Baltimore; a brother, Arthur David Addison of Detroit; four sisters, Lena Bethune and Edna Ruth Blue, both of Baltimore, Julia Thompson of Los Angeles and Carrie Canady of Fayetteville, N.C.; and two granddaughters.

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