Dr. Robert C. Lloyd, a retired city public school educator and volunteer who was an accomplished jazz pianist, died Wednesday from complications of emphysema at Northwest Hospital Center. The Catonsville resident was 84.
Dr. Lloyd, who was born in Baltimore and raised on North Howard Street, graduated in 1940 from the Park School. His college studies at the Johns Hopkins University were interrupted during World War II, when he enlisted in the Navy and served as a boatswain mate.
After the war, he returned to Hopkins, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1948, a master's in education in 1953, and his doctorate in education in 1956.
Dr. Lloyd began his career in 1946 teaching mathematics and science at Hamilton Junior High School. He held other teaching assignments at the school until being named administrative assistant to the superintendent in 1957.
From 1962 to 1965, he was staff coordinator for the Citizens School Advisory Committee, and from 1965 to 1969, was director of special projects and programs.
Dr. Lloyd spent the last 14 years of his career until retiring in 1983 as assistant superintendent of pupil personnel services.
Throughout his lifetime, Dr. Lloyd was active in numerous volunteer organizations, and most recently had served on the boards of the Mental Health Association of Maryland, the North Baltimore Center Inc., Retired Teachers' Association and Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc.
"Dr. Lloyd was a devout civil rights activist and worked hard for fair housing. He had a level of charisma that I've never seen anyone else possess," said Joseph Coffey, executive director of the BNI fair housing organization.
Mr. Coffey lauded his abilities as a mediator.
"He had a way of bringing people together and was a great consensus builder. He'll be very hard to replace," he said.
Despite being ill, Dr. Lloyd continued coming to BNI meetings until stepping down from its board in May.
"As ill as he was, he insisted on coming to our meetings, and often he'd come with two tanks of oxygen. He never allowed himself to be blinded by his illness," Mr. Coffey said.
Dr. Lloyd's voluntarism earned him many awards from the city and state as well as the American Red Cross and Health and Welfare Council of Central Maryland.
A self-taught jazz pianist, Dr. Lloyd continued playing nearly until the end of his life.
"When he played, he was completely into the music and always on key," Mr. Coffey said. "It was like the music just poured out of him."
"When he was at Hopkins in the early 1940s, he won a talent contest and went to New York and appeared on Fred Allen's radio show playing a Rachmaninoff concerto in a boogie-woogie style," said a son, Ralph H. Lloyd of Cockeysville.
Gloria Katzenberg, founder of the Chamber Jazz Society, got to know Dr. Lloyd during their student days at the Park School.
"He was a very fine and imaginative man who didn't read music and improvised a great deal," said Mrs. Katzenberg, a founder of the Chamber Jazz Society. "He played by ear and he played very well. He really was quite gifted."
Dr. Lloyd was a ubiquitous and familiar presence to jazz fans who could count on seeing him at the organization's Baltimore Museum of Art concerts collecting tickets and distributing programs.
"He was a symbol of our continuity and it was individuals like Bob that helped us grow," she said.
Dr. Lloyd, who had lived in Dickeyville for many years before moving to Catonsville in 1982, was an avid contract bridge player.
His wife of 16 years, the former Mary Elizabeth Beard, died in 1960.
Dr. Lloyd was a member of Lovely Lane United Methodist Church, 2200 St. Paul St., where a memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Also surviving is his wife of 32 years, the former Iris Wicks, a retired psychologist; three other sons, Robert C. Lloyd Jr. of Garrettsville, Ohio, Stephen C. Lloyd of Columbia, S.C., and John A. Lloyd of Durham, N.C.; a sister, Virginia Bradley of Dundalk; 11 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.