Benjamin Small, a retired ticket manager with the Baltimore Colts, died Thursday. He was 96.
Born and raised in East Baltimore, Mr. Small graduated from City College.
He started his business career young, selling newspapers at 9 years old. At age 14, he took a part-time job as a stock boy with the S. Rosenbloom Inc. textile company.
Mr. Small later joined Rosenbloom full time as a purchasing agent, moving to New York City at one point to work out of the company's office in the Empire State Building. There he met Harriet Muth, his future wife. The pair married in 1947.
In 1957, his boss, Carroll Rosenbloom, who had become principal owner of the Colts in 1953, brought Mr. Small in to be the team's ticket manager, a job that he kept until he retired in 1972.
With the Colts, it was Mr. Small's idea to switch from manual ticketing to an automated, computer-based method - a system that exists to this day and was eventually adopted by the entire National Football League, according to his wife.
After retirement, Mr. Small founded Spay Neuter All Pets, an organization dedicated to preventing the birth of unwanted animals that he ran for 25 years.
Mr. Small's love of animals led him to become a vegetarian, his wife said.
Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery on Berrymans Lane in Reisterstown.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Small is survived by a nephew.