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George R. Floyd, an investment banker who helped save a historic 18th-century Howard County home, dies

George R. Floyd worked with Edwin Warfield Gramkow to restore "Waverly."
George R. Floyd worked with Edwin Warfield Gramkow to restore "Waverly."(HANDOUT)

George R. Floyd, an investment banker, former managing partner at Alex. Brown & Sons, and partner at Brown Investment Advisory & Trust, who helped save Waverly, a historic 18th-century Howard County home from the wrecker’s ball, died Feb. 16 of heart failure at the Brightwood retirement community in Lutherville. The former longtime Ellicott City resident was 88.

“George was an enthusiastic, hardworking and passionate colleague who cared deeply about his clients and the firm,” said Michael D. Hankin of Butler, the president and CEO of Brown Investment Advisory & Trust. “I will miss his love of history and country life. He was a true friend and a true gentleman."

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George Richard Floyd, son of Hoge Allen Floyd, a furniture store salesman, and his wife, Margaret Louisa Mapp Floyd, a homemaker, was born at home in Northampton, Virginia, where he was also raised.

After graduating in 1948 from the Franktown-Nassawadok High School in Nassawadok, Virginia, Mr. Floyd earned a bachelor’s degree in 1952 in business from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg. He also studied at the Johns Hopkins University and McCoy College.

While at VPI, he was a member of the Cadet Corps. After graduation. he was commissioned a lieutenant and served as an Army artillery officer for two years.

Mr. Floyd came to Baltimore in the 1950s as an agent for the U.S. Navy Department. He then joined the old Robert Garrett & Sons, investment bankers, as a registered representative, and in 1967 Alex. Brown & Sons, the oldest banking house in the United States.

In 1968, he was named manager of Brown’s branch office in Columbia, a position he held for 15 years. After returning to the firm’s East Baltimore Street headquarters, he quickly rose through the ranks and was named a managing director.

Alex. Brown & Sons merged with Bankers Trust Co. in 1997. Two years later, when Deutsche Bank acquired Bankers Trust, Mr. Floyd left and joined Brown Investment Advisory & Trust as a partner in the firm and senior financial adviser. He retired in 2019.

He served on the board of Oldfields School in Sparks and was a communicant of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ellicott City for more than 50 years.

In 1959, he married the former Alicia Lee Iverson, and for 50 years until moving to Brightwood in 2012, the couple lived at Burleigh Cottage, on his wife’s family farm, Burleigh Manor, near Ellicott City, which dates to the 1700s.

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Mrs. Floyd, who died in 2013, was a direct descendant of Henry Lee III, also known as “Light Horse” Harry Lee, the Revolutionary War patriot and father of Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Mr. Floyd maintained an interest in history and his family genealogy, family members said.

His family arrived from Wales and settled on Virginia’s Eastern Shore in 1623, owning various properties until the early 1820s when it purchased “Happy Union” near Nassawadox, which still remains in his family.

His collateral ancestors were responsible for the establishment of Floyd County in Southwest Virginia. Another, William Floyd of Long Island, New York, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

An avowed preservationist and an active member of Preservation Maryland, Mr. Floyd joined with his friend Edwin Warfield Gramkow in the effort that restored “Waverly,” which took its name from Sir Walter Scott’s romantic Waverley novels, minus the second “e.”

The two-story stucco exterior Federal-style house with six bedrooms, constructed in 1756 with an 1811 addition, had fallen into disrepair.

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“No one seemed to care about it, but we think the house is too important to have it bulldozed or fall into the ground,” Mr. Floyd told The Sun in a 1977 interview.

While the property, near Marriottsville, had been owned by Gen. John Eager Howard, a Revolutionary War hero and governor of Maryland from 1788 to 1791, there is no evidence that he ever lived there.

“But, according to Mr. Floyd, there is a local story, perhaps apocryphal, that General Howard entertained George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette for tea under an elm tree on the property,” Mr. Floyd explained in the interview.

“Also, Mr. Floyd said another myth about Waverly that has proven a bit more disconcerting is that General Howard supposedly buried money in the house. A previous tenant, as a result, dug holes all over the dirt floor basement and removed bricks from hearths in search of that money,” reported the newspaper.

But what is known is that George Howard, who was governor from 1831 to 1833, did reside at Waverly, which had been a wedding gift from his father after his marriage to Prudence Gough Ridgely, a daughter of Gov. Charles Ridgely, of Hampton, which today is the Hampton National Historic Site north of Towson.

Now owned by Howard County, the Waverly Historic Mansion, as it is now known, is used primarily for public functions and as a wedding venue.

Mr. Floyd liked collecting antique furniture and traveling.

“He loved history and Colonial homes,” said his son, Richard Edward Tankard Floyd of Durango, Colorado. “He liked visiting England with its estates and manor houses.”

Mr. Floyd was a member of the Maryland Club, Elkridge Club and Bachelors Cotillon.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at his church, 9120 Frederick Road, Ellicott City.

In addition to his son, Mr. Floyd is survived by a daughter, Eleanor Iverson Floyd Fulton of Sykesville, and four grandchildren.

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