R. Dennis German, a retired Baltimore City Board of Zoning Appeals member who was active in Boy Scouting, died April 21 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at his Village of Cross Keys home. He was 80.
Born Ridgely Dennis German in Baltimore and raised in Rodgers Forge, he was the son of Irma Catherine Herzog and her husband, Ridgely German, who owned a sod farm.
“My father had an abundant scholastic career at Mount Washington Country School for Boys, followed by St. Paul’s School for Boys, then on to Loyola Blakefield and finally graduating from Boys’ Latin in 1957,” said his daughter, Jenifer Nugent of Rodgers Forge.
She said her father often recalled spending his childhood summers at Pinehurst in Anne Arundel County and ice skating in the winter on Cochran’s Pond off Lake Avenue in North Baltimore.
He earned an associate of arts degree in business at the Johns Hopkins University and a second associate degree in architectural drafting from the Maryland Institute College of Art.
He met his future wife, Sarah Ann McGeehan, on the beach at Ocean City. They were introduced by her Institute of Notre Dame classmate Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi.
“My parents had a romantic and cultured courtship, and they were married at the Baltimore Basilica,” said his daughter.
As a young man Mr. German was a tailor’s apprentice at the old William H. Lohmeyer men’s clothing business and later owned his own shop, Raymond B Krieger on Charles Street in downtown Baltimore. His customers included businessmen as well as members of the Baltimore Colts and Bullets sports teams.
“My father believed that ladies and gentlemen do not wear dungarees," said his daughter.
One of his tailoring customers, Donald Grempler, brought in his wife, Mary Bell Grempler, to meet Mr. German, who often made friends with his customers. The Gremplers, who founded a real estate business, suggested he join them. He soon became a successful residential and commercial salesman.
Mr. German sold residential properties in Columbia and Joppatowne and later worked in commercial properties. He retired from Coldwell Banker and sold and leased retail stores and warehouses. He worked with caterer Martin Resnick and for the Finkelstein family and their chain of clothing shops.
My father had a booming voice," said his daughter. “He was impeccably dressed and perfectly groomed with a remarkable mustache. This look gave him the reputation of the consummate gentleman."
Mayor William Donald Schaefer named him to the Baltimore City Board of Zoning Appeals.
“My father absorbed the development and zoning process with a passion,” said his daughter.
Mr. German often consulted with Baltimore County zoning official Arnold Jablon, his daughter said.
“My father wanted the city and the county to work together to understand and solve the everyday issues that challenged their respective jurisdictions,” his daughter said.
His daughter said that while Mr. German went on camping trips with Troop 1000, he always booked a motel room to assure he had his own bathing facilities. He also traveled with a portable solar-heated shower.
He made it a point of spending a weekend day with his children and led trips to Lexington Market, the Inner Harbor and National Aquarium, the Maryland Zoo, the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre, the Lyric, the Baltimore Symphony and the Walters Art Museum.
Mr. German, a former president of the Tuscany-Canterbury Association, represented the neighborhood group in zoning and planning issues. He lived for 40 years on Ridgemede Road before moving to Cross Keys.
He enjoyed card games, including pitch, with friends.
Plans for a life celebration will be announced at a later date.
In addition to his daughter and wife of 54 years, a retired Polytechnic Institute English teacher, survivors include two sons, Thaddeus German of Philadelphia and John Francis German of Denver; another daughter, Amanda Fine of Baltimore; and four grandchildren.