Laura M. Wilson

The Baltimore Sun

Laura M. "Din" Wilson, former chairwoman of the board of the Steeltin Can Corp. whose philanthropic interests included educational, cultural and medical institutions, died Wednesday of cancer at "Nubbin Ridge," her Green Spring Valley home. She was 86.

Laura Dell Meacham was born in Baltimore and raised at Nubbin Ridge, which had originally been her parents' home.

Her father, Laurence B. Meacham, a West Point graduate and World War I cavalry officer, had been president of Steel and Tin Products Co., later Steeltin Can Corp., which had been established by the Meacham family in 1912.

Mrs. Wilson graduated in 1940 from Rosemary Hall, now Choate Rosemary Hall, which was then located in Greenwich, Conn. She earned a bachelor's degree in 1944 from Vassar College.

In 1942, her father rejoined the Army, serving as an aide to Gen. Mark Clark, his West Point classmate, in North Africa, and later joined the staff of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower in London, where he assisted in planning the invasion of Normandy.

During college vacations, Mrs. Wilson worked at Steeltin and, after her graduation from Vassar, she returned to run the company full time while her father remained on active duty.

After her father returned to Steeltin, Mrs. Wilson continued working there, and upon his death in 1966, she became chairwoman of the board.

During the next 28 years, Mrs. Wilson oversaw the company's significant expansion until its acquisition in 1994 by U.S. Can Corp.

Mrs. Wilson had also served on the board of Savings Bank of Baltimore.

She was a longtime board member at Union Memorial Hospital and had served as board president from 1973 to 1979.

Mrs. Wilson had led the $5 million campaign that resulted in the construction of the hospital's North building and the retrofitting of the original 33rd Street hospital building.

"She was one of the 'four squirts,' the four women who raised the money to build the four-jetted fountain outside of the North building," said her son, Jay M. Wilson of Baltimore.

Mrs. Wilson's charitable interests included Bryn Mawr School, Gilman School and the Walters Art Museum.

She was a member of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Endowment Campaign Committee, which raised $40 million in the mid-1980s that resulted in saving the orchestra from financial insolvency.

Mrs. Wilson enjoyed tennis, golfing and gardening.

She was a member of the Elkridge Club, Mount Vernon Club, St. George's Garden Club and the Mid-Ocean Club in Bermuda.

Mrs. Wilson was a communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Ruxton.

Services are private.

Also surviving are her husband of 62 years, Bruce P. Wilson, retired president of Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co.; three daughters, Barbara W. Schweizer of Brooklandville, Katharine W. Denby of Princeton, N.J., and Laura W. Werntz of Falls Village, Conn.; 12 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

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