Barbara McCormick Stevens, founder of a financial service business, dies

Barbara McCormick Stevens, who operated a financial services business and wrote a history of the Homeland neighborhood, died of cancer June 28 at Mercy Ridge in Timonium. The former Purlington Way resident was 88.

Born in Baltimore, she was the daughter of Marie Heuisler and Edward Augustus McCormick. She grew up in an extended family on Saint Albans Way and was a 1952 graduate of Eden Hall Convent of the Sacred Heart in Torresdale, Pennsylvania. She was a debutante who was introduced at the 1952 Baltimore Bachelors Cotillon.


Mrs. Stevens met her future husband, James W. Stevens Jr., while attending the St. Mary’s School. He became an official of the old Equitable Trust Company.

She joined the Rouse Company at its offices on Saratoga Street in downtown Baltimore.


“She loved that job,” said her son Mark Turner Stevens. “She spoke excitedly about her role helping gather data for Rouse development projects, including being in the plane doing site surveys from the air!”

In the late 1970s, she and a friend, Lynn Lafferty, founded Lybra Ltd., a financial management company for individuals and nonprofits.

When her business partner left the firm, she changed its name to Stevens Management.

“This was a big deal since there were few women entrepreneurs who didn’t have the privilege of going to college,” said her son James Scott Stevens. “A notable client was the Blue Book, Baltimore’s Society Visiting List, for which she was the editor for many years.”

In 1976, she wrote “Homeland History and Heritage.”

“One of the most outstanding characteristics of Homeland is the series of ponds or ornamental lakes, once spring fed, that Perine had dug in 1843. Their original use was to supply the estate with water as well as ice, which was cut and stored for use in the summer months,” said a 2002 Sun article, at the time the book was reprinted.

”Mom was the most incredible role model. She was smart, determined, forward-thinking and offered unconditional love,” said her daughter, Paula Stevens Harmon. ”Her greatest joy was her five grandchildren. I appreciated her babysitting until she took [my son] young Jack for a walk, and he ended up [falling into the neighborhood] lakes. I modeled her spirit of forgiveness, and she retained her babysitting duties.”

Her cousin Stanley Heuisler said: “Under all her spirit and smarts and skill and humor and determination and family and community and church involvement and, yes, her enduring faith, certain things were best done in very certain ways; she seemed to me to be, most intrinsically, just a good person. She lived being good and doing good.”


Active at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, she was a lector from 1973 to 2005 and served on the parish council and the Cathedral Renaissance Festival committee.

Mrs. Stevens was a member of the Junior League of Baltimore and Santa Claus Anonymous and was a past treasurer of the Cathedral School Athletic Association.

Mrs. Stevens enjoyed bridge, tennis, golf and genealogy.

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Her children described her as a “huge Ravens fan.” They said that while watching a game with her, she occasionally uttered “bad words” during disappointing plays. Her grandkids found these moments entertaining.

Mark Stevens, her son, also said: “I thought as a kid and into my adult life, ‘How does Mom have this much energy?’ She runs a business, manages the house, sits on committees, assists many of the older aunts, uncles and grandparents. She was always entertaining.”

He said she kept a weekly tennis group organized and never missed any of the children’s sports games.


“All the while, she spent quality time with my father,” he said. “She thought of others and never spoke poorly of anyone. She made hospital visits, meals for sick friends and gave small gifts to make someone feel special. It was exhausting sometimes just watch her go.”

“She was an institution and pushed the boundaries,” said her son Mark. “She was the center of the family. She was a generous, fun, energetic dynamo, always a positive spirit. She was a pioneer.”

Survivors include two sons, James Scott Stevens of Reisterstown and Mark Turner Stevens of Charlotte, North Carolina; a daughter, Paula Stevens Harmon of Ruxton; a sister, Ann McCormick Owings of Tallahassee, Florida; and five grandchildren. Her husband of 57 years died in 2017.

A memorial Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles St.