Richard R. Harwood Jr.

The Baltimore Sun

Richard Roberts Harwood Jr., a former business executive who later owned and operated a Charles Street art gallery, died of cancer Saturday at his North Baltimore home. He was 87.

Known as "Boots," Mr. Harwood filled his Purnell Galleries with etchings of old Baltimore, Civil War-era lithographs and sporting prints, as well as traditional oil paintings and ceramics.

In 1975, he and his wife bought the art gallery, then one of Baltimore's oldest fine art dealers. He worked there daily until 1997 and owned the business at his death.

"Boots had an elegance and dignity about him," said Mary Frances Wagley, a former St. Paul School for Girls headmistress. "He was a lovely man who had great patience and would explain exactly what he was selling."

Born in Baltimore and raised on Roland Avenue, he was a 1939 Polytechnic Institute graduate. He served in the Army during World War II and earned a degree at Princeton University.

He worked at a local publishing firm, the Manufacturers Record, and in 1956 he joined Young & Selden Co., a bank stationery firm, where he rose to become chairman and chief executive officer. In 1962, he was named president of a Black & Decker air tool subsidiary, Master Power Corp. in Solon, Ohio. A year later, he became Master Power's chairman and corporate vice president of administration for B&D; worldwide operations.

Mr. Harwood went on to be administrative vice president and corporate secretary of the Arundel Corp. and in 1969 was named president of the Barton-Cotton Co., a printing and graphics firm.

Family members said Mr. Harwood had always wanted to run his own business. After the opportunity came to buy the gallery at Charles and Mulberry streets, he soon began filling its window with pictures of sailing ships, the Shot Tower and the Washington Monument. Customers said he often displayed prints and paintings in a gallery setting outfitted with chintz-covered wing chairs and Oriental rugs.

"He said he enjoyed his years as an art dealer as much as anything he had ever done," said his son Richard R. Harwood III, who now operates the gallery at the Mill Centre on Chestnut Avenue. "He liked the old Baltimore views and was not at all infatuated with contemporary art."

The senior Mr. Harwood was a past president of the Baltimore Junior Association of Commerce.

He was treasurer of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland during the episcopate of the Right Rev. Harry Lee Doll. He was also a trustee of St. Paul's School in Brooklandville and was a founding trustee and treasurer of its sister school, St. Paul's School for Girls.

Mr. Harwood sat on the board of the Keswick Multi-Care Center for 37 years. That institution created the Richard R. Harwood Jr. Unsung Hero Award.

"He was a behind-the-scenes guy who never led with his mouth. You could often read him by his facial expressions," said Edmond B. Nolley, a past Keswick board president and friend. "He was always looking out for the residents of Keswick."

He was a member of the Elkridge and Maryland clubs. He also played golf and enjoyed the music of the 1930s and 1940s, including Louis Armstrong, the Dorsey Brothers and Benny Goodman.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 24 at Old St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Charles and Saratoga streets, where he had been senior warden and chairman of the investment committee.

Survivors include two other sons, Edward S. Harwood of Washington and William W. Harwood of Short Hills, N.J.; a brother, William B. Harwood of Bethesda; and three grandchildren. His wife of more than 58 years, the former Marion V. Smith, died in 2004.

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