Andrew B. “Andy” Thomas, a retired Maryland National Bank executive and history buff who served on numerous committees at the Hampton National Historic Site in Towson, died from complications of a broken hip Feb. 24 at his Brightwood Retirement Community home in Lutherville. He was 95.
“Andy was a perfect Maryland gentleman who loved Maryland history,” said Truman T. Seamans, a cousin and a Brown Advisory partner. “He was a very friendly and sociable man. He enjoyed his family and was just a great human being.”
Andrew Banks Thomas, son of Henry Briscoe Thomas Jr., a banker, and Anne Mason Banks, a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and was initially raised on Calvert Street before moving with his family to Guilford.
On his maternal side, he was a descendant of George Mason of Gunston Hall, Fairfax County, Virginia, who was the author of Virginia’s Declaration of Rights and the Virginia Constitution.
George Mason’s words from the Virginia Declaration of Rights — “That all men by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights” — were later used as a template for the Bill of Rights, family members said.
On his paternal side, he was a descendant of James Thomas, who was governor of Maryland from 1833 to 1836, and resided at Deep Falls farm in Chaptico, St. Mary’s County, which still remains in the Thomas family.
After graduating from Gilman School in 1945, he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1949 from Princeton University where he had been a member of the Cap and Gown Club. He later did postgraduate studies at the Rutgers University School of Banking.
“Andy and I were the last two men in our form [class] at Gilman and for a time we roomed together at Princeton after the war,” recalled Mr. Seamans.
From 1945 until being discharged in 1955 with the rank of sergeant, Mr. Thomas had served with the 110th Field Artillery Battalion of the Maryland National Guard.
He began his business career in 1949 at the William G. Scarlett Co. as a seed salesman, and his work allowed him to travel extensively throughout the country as well as Central America, Europe and North Africa.
In 1963, he left the seed company when he was named vice president of the old Maryland National Bank, now Bank of America, where he was responsible for managing the bank’s main branch in downtown Baltimore and three other locations.
After leaving Maryland National, he was named vice president and head of marketing at Commercial and Farmers Bank in Ellicott City, where he enjoyed working with local merchants and farmers helping to grow their businesses, family members said.
He retired in 1998, but throughout his career he lectured graduate students in the field of banking at various local colleges and universities.
“Andy was the epitome of a gentleman, soft-spoken, kind and authentic,” said Dr. William F. Fritz, a longtime friend, who is a retired Baltimore internist. “He was a devoted husband, family man, and a delightful companion. And to have him as a friend was a great asset in one’s life.”
In 1956, he married the former Dorothy Powell “Dotsy” Ridgely, a teacher and volunteer, who raised their four children at Briarwood in Lutherville, which abutted his in-laws’ property, Fallowfields.
His wife was a descendant of the Ridgely family, who owned and occupied what is now the Hampton National Historic Site, just north of Towson on Hampton Lane, from 1745 to 1948, with its impressive Georgian manor house.
Mrs. Thomas was an active volunteer at Hampton, and was joined by her husband who served on numerous committees, including the buildings and grounds committee.
As a youth, he had spent summers at Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania, a once-fashionable 19th century railroad resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains for the bon ton, and later spent vacations with family and friends at Squirrel Island, Maine, where he and his wife owned a second home, and he enjoyed sailing and playing tennis.
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After retiring, the couple traveled extensively to Europe, the Caribbean, Canada, and Russia.
Before moving to Brightwood a decade ago, he liked to spend weekends working in his yard at Briarwood. He was also an avid reader, student of historical nonfiction, and enjoyed visiting historic sites.
Mr. Thomas was a former member of the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club and an active member of The Society of The Ark and The Dove, Society of Colonial Wars, the Wednesday Club, Elkridge Club and the Bachelors Cotillon.
For 30 years, he had been a communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter in Lutherville where he had been a member of the vestry and treasurer. He later attended Dickey Memorial Presbyterian Church in Dickeyville, and in recent years, was a parishioner at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Owings Mills.
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His wife died in 2012 and is buried at Hampton, and Mr. Thomas, who donated his body to the Maryland State Anatomy Board, will also join his wife there, family members said.
A memorial service was held March 8 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church.
He is survived by his son, Andrew Banks Thomas Jr. of Charlotte, North Carolina; two daughters, Catherine Stewart Thomas Burnett of Roland Park and Dorothy Ridgely Thomas Eckhardt of Cumberland, Maine; 12 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. His oldest daughter, Emily Powell Thomas Wiley, died in 2009.