Edward R. Jeunette Jr., a longtime attorney for the Baltimore City Department of Social Services, an avid home cook and self-taught handyman, died unexpectedly Wednesday after complications caused by pneumonia. He was 62 years old.
Despite the gravity of his work in the courtroom, Mr. Jeunette believed above all that life was a comedy, said his husband, Jeb King.
“Ed had the best sense of humor and a very broad sense of humor, both witty and profane,” Mr. King said.
Born in Baltimore, Mr. Jeunette was the son of Edward Richard Jeunette Sr., an attorney, and Margaret Clark Jeunette, a homemaker. He grew up in the Hampden neighborhood, where he cultivated an appreciation for the absurd and a love of animals.
The family kept several pets, including a duck and, for a time, a spider monkey named Monty that Mr. Jeunette’s brother Clark mischievously ordered from the back pages of a comic book. When it was decided that Monty required too much care, the primate was sent to a new owner in a Yellow Cab.
In adulthood, Mr. Jeunette loved regaling dinner parties with the tale of Monty, the monkey that “arrived in a crate and left in a taxi.”
Mr. Jeunette was a 1975 graduate of Mount Saint Joseph High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from then-Towson State University. After receiving a law degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1982, he proudly took over his father’s civil law practice in Hampden.
Later in his career, Mr. Jeunette worked as a legislative assistant to City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke. In 1990, he began a long tenure as an attorney with Baltimore’s Department of Social Services, representing the state in cases of child abuse and neglect and in adult protective services.
Around the same time, Mr. Jeunette met his future husband in front of the punch bowl at a mutual friend’s wedding reception. Mr. King recalled how Mr. Jeunette made a crack about a member of the wedding party and declared that he never intended to marry.
The couple was inseparable from that day on and bought their first home together in 1991 — a commitment that felt at the time akin to marriage, Mr. King said.
Mr. Jeunette devoted time campaigning for marriage equality and eventually married Mr. King in 2013 in the law library of the city’s Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse. Over the course of their marriage, the couple enjoyed traveling, collecting eclectic art and sharing a sit-down dinner together at their kitchen table five nights a week, Mr. King said.
Mr. Jeunette was actively involved in civic organizations and city and state political campaigns. He volunteered for the Hampden Family Center, Baltimore Pride, the Hampden Centennial Committee and the Mayor’s Christmas Parade, for which he served as a marshal for many years. He also served as a board member of the Hampden Business Association and vice president of the Hampden-Woodberry Community Council and Mayfair Planning Committee.
Mr. Jeunette was an ardent Ravens fan and served as treasurer of Ravens Roost 110 in Hampden. He was eagerly anticipating a Ravens run to the Super Bowl this season, a trip to Miami and a return to Baltimore for a celebratory parade.
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In his spare time, Mr. Jeunette prided himself on preparing elaborate meals and often rescued animals in need. He loved to fix up old houses, beginning as a young man with his grandmother’s house in Hampden, and moving on to new projects in Ednor Gardens, Elkridge, Roland Park and Mount Washington.
Mr. Jeunette was known among friends and family for his humor and his perfectionism. He enjoyed baking “showstopper” cakes, combining words to create a new one and swapping his business suit on weekends for a paint-stained T-shirt.
A memorial visitation will be held Monday at the Burgee-Henss-Seitz Funeral Home at 3631 Falls Road, 3–5 p.m. and 7–9 p.m. A memorial service will take place Tuesday at the funeral home at 2 p.m.
Mr. Jeunette was preceded in death by his parents; his stepmother; Charlette Thompson; and his sister, Libby Thompson.