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W. James Price IV, former Alex. Brown & Sons Inc. managing director, dies

W. James Price IV, a decorated World War II veteran who became a managing director of Alex. Brown & Sons Inc. investment bankers, died Dec. 11 from complications from dementia at Gilchrist Center Towson. The former Brooklandville resident was 94.

“He was a great man and one of the highest-grade people I’ve every known. I knew Jim growing up and was devoted to him,” said Truman T. Semans, vice chairman of Brown Investment & Advisory Trust Company, and a former Alex. Brown & Sons general partner.

“His ethics — and he practiced ethics — were outstanding,” said Mr. Semans, a Brooklandville resident. “And at the old Alex. Brown, he was one of the most important senior partners, and was a banker of the old school.”

“We have been friends for so many years, and Jim Price was an exemplary person of honesty and integrity,” said Dr. William F. Fritz, a retired Ruxton physician. “These were principles he practiced in his own life, and he was a great, valued and loyal friend.”

William James Price IV, who was born in Baltimore and raised in Ruxton, was the son of William James Price III, a partner in Alex. Brown & Sons, and his wife, Frances Robbins Price, a homemaker.

A 1942 graduate of St. Paul’s School for Boys, Mr. Price attended Virginia Military Institute, where he studied electrical engineering before entering the Army in 1943.

Mr. Price was assigned to A Company, 311th Infantry in the Army’s 78th Division, and after completing training, sailed for Southampton, England, in the fall of 1944, aboard the Union-Castle Line troopship M.V. Carnovan Castle.

“We all wanted to see England, and when land came into view, the ship suddenly listed to starboard as everyone raced to one side to gape,” Mr. Price told Charley Mitchell, St. Paul’s School’s alumni director, in a 2104 interview for its alumni magazine.

Mr. Price and his fellow infantrymen then boarded troop trains for further training at Bournemouth. “We had no idea where we were. The street signs had been removed to confuse the Germans, in the event they invaded.”

In November, Mr. Price’s unit marched across France to Belgium, arriving in time to fight in the Hurtgen Forest campaign that raged from September to mid-December 1944 on the German-Belgian border, and killed and wounded 4,500 American troops.

The war ended for Mr. Price on Jan. 13, 1945, when he was badly wounded while on patrol.

“I stepped on a mine in the run-up to the Battle of the Bulge.We were behind German lines, and we knew that they had mined the spaces between the hedgerows One of our guys ran through the space, so I figured it was clear, then boom,” Mr. Price explained in the interview.

He had had broken his fibula and tibia and fractured a big toe as he attempted to make his way back to the American lines, when a burp gun inflicted a similar wound on his other leg that hospitalized him for 16 months at the Woodrow Wilson Hospital in Staunton, Va..

His decorations included two Purple Hearts with Oak Leaf Clusters, a Bronze Star and the Combat Infantry Badge.

After being discharged from the Army, Mr. Price entered Yale University, where he played lacrosse for two years and earned his bachelor’s degree in 1949.

He began his business career in 1949 in Baltimore as the sole proprietor of Price & Company selling mutual funds and over-the-counter securities.

Three years later, he joined Alex. Brown & Sons as manager of the mutual funds department, and in 1959 was made a partner in the firm.

In 1984, he was named managing director of the firm and at the time of his retirement in 1998 was chairman of Alex. Brown Cash Reserve and the Flag Group of mutual funds, all of which he founded while at the firm.

“Jim started those money funds at Brown, and they became very important to the firm. He was a major influence at the firm, there is no doubt about that. I knew him from my days at Robert Garrett & Sons, and I can tell you that he was competitive and no pushover,” Mr. Semans said.

“The client always came first with Jim, and second were the people he worked with at Alex. Brown,” he said. “Next to his philanthropy, Alex. Brown was his life.”

A longtime regular “Wall $treet Week” panelist, Mr. Price appeared on Louis Rukeyser’s first program, which was broadcast on Maryland Public Televison in 1970.

Mr. Price had been a member of the board of governors of the National Association of Security Dealers and had been a member of the board of Church Home and Hospital and had served as a director of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad its and successor CSX, Peterson, Howell & Heather Corp., Eastmet and Boca Research.

He had also been chairman of Sonitrol Security Services and Vanns Spices Ltd., and was an emeritus visitor at Washington College, and a St. Paul’s School for Boys and St. Paul’s School for Girls board of trustees member from 1968 to 1988, where he also engaged in fundraising for the schools.

In 1988, Mr. Price was presented the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the St. Paul’s School Alumni Association

Mr. Price was a former trustee of the Eugene B. Casey Foundation and Union Memorial Hospital Foundation.

Mr. Price and his wife, the for Marjorie “Midge” Beard, whom he married in 1952, lived in Ruxton and later on Hillside Road in Brooklandville, and at Devon Hill in North Roland Park. In 2010, the couple moved to the Blakehurst Retirement Community in Towson. She died in 2014.

They also had a second home in Ocean Ridge, Fla., where they lived for most of the year. He was an avid golfer and was a member of the Country Club of Florida, the Gulf Stream Golf Club, and the Ocean Club. In Baltimore, he was a longtime member of the Maryland Club and the Elkridge Club.

Mr. Price had been a parishioner of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Ruxton and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Delray Beach, Fla.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Jan. 14 at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St.

Mr. Price is survived by two sons, William James Price V of Mineral Springs, N.C., and Jonathan R. Price of Cockeysville; two daughters, Marjorie “Meg” Whitlock of Cashiers, N.C., and Juliet Robbins Price of Boston; a sister, Dorsey Price Salerno of Hackettstown, N.J.; and eight grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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