Albert Asbury "Ab" Logan Jr., a retired Boys' Latin School teacher who worked in Baltimore neighborhood organizing in the 1970s, died of cancer Aug. 25 at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Cockeysville resident was 70.
Born in Pittsburgh, he was the son of Albert Asbury Logan Sr., a lawyer and accountant, and Gertrude Elizabeth Seibert, a homemaker and office manager. He earned a bachelor's degree in English from Gannon University and had a master's degree from Duquesne University and a second from Loyola University Maryland. He also studied for a doctorate at the University of Wisconsin, where he met his future wife, Mary Lindemann, a library sciences teacher.
Mr. Logan moved to Baltimore and wrote for the Chronicle of Higher Education. He lived with a group of social activist friends in a Pigtown commune. The couple later moved with the commune to Federal Hill and homes on William, Churchill and Montgomery streets. He identified with other members of the Catholic Left Movement.
After volunteering at the Northeast Community Organization, he was hired by Catholic Charities as a community organizer and focused on South Baltimore, where he helped form the Coalition of Peninsula Organizations. While he battled a highway planned through Federal Hill and Fells Point, he also took on issues such as renters' rights to buy a home, school desegregation, landlord problems and property tax fairness.
"Ab was great at making impassioned speeches before the road planners," said Michael V. Seipp, a friend who is the director of the South Baltimore Station, a shelter for men. "He was articulate but not threatening. His best hard work in South Baltimore involved pulling people together. He was gentle and smart, and could bring the races together in a way that had not happened before."
City officials later selected an alternate route for what is now Interstate 395.
Mr. Logan then became director of Northeast Inc., a subsidiary of the Northeast Community Organization. He worked to promote home sales in neighborhoods along Loch Raven Boulevard after community members had eased racial tension and block-busting with a real-estate sign ban. He then served as executive director at the Greater Homewood Community Corp. for several years.
"A friend mentioned a part-time teaching opening at Boys' Latin," said his wife, a retired Enoch Pratt Free Library staff member. "He had done some teaching as a graduate student, and it hit him that this is what he wanted to do. He took the job and loved it there."
Mr. Logan became a teacher in 1984 and was later English department chair at Boys' Latin. He retired in 2010.
"He was a brilliant teacher who could connect the art of literature and poetry. He made you a stronger writer," said Stuart Katzenberg, a former student who lives in Baltimore. "He had us dissect the songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen in class. He opened the music of the 1960s and showed it was not just a song, it was poetry."
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Mr. Logan was a founder of peer education and senior retreat programs and was faculty adviser to the student newspaper.
"Ab was one of the most reflective persons I ever knew," said Mac Kennedy, an administrator at the school. "When you spoke with him, you could tell he was listening intently. His responses, even during the most casual of conversations, were like prose. They just flowed beautifully."
Mr. Kennedy recalled his affection for his students and his ability to tell a good story. "I will always remember him telling me stories about his days growing up," he said. "They were just so beautiful, witty and usually funny that I always caught myself smiling while hoping I could hear more."
In retirement, he took a course each semester at Towson University. He was a volunteer at Viva House, Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Citywide Coalition. He became an adviser to a teen writing group at the Baltimore County Public Library. He was also told stories at the Stoop Storytelling Series at Center Stage.
Plans for a memorial service are incomplete.
In addition to his wife of 45 years, survivors include a son, William Atkins Logan of Jacksonville, Fla.; a brother, John Ward Logan of Nashville, Tenn.; and three sisters, Mary Dolores Dettmers of Jupiter, Fla., Nancy Detweiler of Gainesville, Fla. and Jean Logan of Northeast, Pa.