Harry E. Silverwood Jr., a former CitiFinancial executive and partner in the Smith, Somerville & Case legal firm, died in his sleep of cardiovascular complications May 24 at his North Baltimore home. He was 87.
Born in Baltimore and raised in Cedarcroft, he was the son of Harry E. Silverwood Sr., an attorney, and Bessie Silverwood, a homemaker. Mr. Silverwood was a 1952 graduate of Baltimore City College, where he was editor of its yearbook, The Greenbag. He earned a political science degree at the Johns Hopkins University, where he played on the football and lacrosse teams. He was a member of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity and editor of the college yearbook, The Hullabaloo.
He met his future wife, Doris Prem, in Union Memorial Hospital’s emergency room. She was a student nurse, and he needed attention for an injured finger. Their first date was at Fisher’s Restaurant in Northeast Baltimore. She later pinned his second lieutenant bars on him at Fort Meade.
After serving in the Army as an artillery officer at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Mr. Silverwood graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law and was on the law review’s board of editors.
While in law school, Mr. Silverwood was part-time floor director at the old WBAL television studios on North Charles Street, where he met Lary Lewman, who played the role of Pete the Pirate; Bert and Nancy Claster of “Romper Room”; and local personality Rhea Feikin.
Mr. Silverwood practiced law for 10 years with the Baltimore firm of Sauerwein, Boyd & Decker and was named a partner in 1966. In 1970, he joined the legal department of the old Commercial Credit Company and became general attorney for its Business Services Group.
In 1988, Mr. Silverwood became a partner at Smith, Somerville & Case and worked in business and corporate law until the firm dissolved in 1997. He then returned to the general counsel’s office at Commercial Credit, later known as CitiFinancial, a subsidiary of Citigroup, until 2003, when he retired.
He was a member of the Maryland State and American bar associations, as well as numerous banking and finance associations.
Mr. Silverwood was a lifelong member of Second Presbyterian Church, where he served as deacon and later became an elder. He served on the church’s session for 12 years.
He was active in the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association’s executive committee and alumni council. He was the 1993 president of Baltimore chapter of the alumni association.
Following his discharge from the Army, Mr. Silverwood served in the Army Reserve and then in the Maryland Army National Guard with the 110th Field Artillery Battalion at Pikesville. He retired in 1979 as a major.
Mr. Silverwood played piano by ear and often informally performed at his fraternity and at home with friends who joined in singing. He was a Paint & Powder Club of Baltimore member and appeared in almost all of its annual charity show productions for 40 years. He sang in a men’s chorus and played guitar or piano. He was also the club’s 1977-1978 president.
He was a devotee of Maryland seafood and regularly ordered oyster stew and the creamed crab soup at The Peppermill restaurant in Towson.
“My mother, a registered nurse, tried to keep him fit by packing his lunch of salads and SlimFast even though she knew full well he would sneak out to Burke’s Restaurant [in downtown Baltimore] for cream of crab soup, onion rings and soft crabs,” said his son Scott Silverwood. “Another family favorite was the old House of Welsh on Guilford Avenue.”
“Dad was quite the ‘Mr. Fix It’ person,” his son added. “He acquired an old church organ from his brother sometime in the early 1980s that he disassembled and had scattered all over the carpeted living room floor. Just trying to find a tester for the vacuum tubes it used was a challenge in itself. Nevertheless, he managed to get it working for many years.”
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He was also a member and past president of the St. George’s Society of Baltimore and the Cosmopolitan Club of Baltimore.
He had been active in Baltimore-area Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, and was a past president of the Pine Valley-Valleywood Community Association and the Pinewood Elementary School PTA.
As a young man, he was an Ocean City lifeguard and spent his summer vacations at Maryland and Delaware beaches. He owned a home in Fenwick Island, Delaware. He also traveled extensively to the Caribbean, Europe and Australia.
“My father always loved summer vacations in Ocean City, trips dating back to the early 1960s, when once, he rented a cottage that had no phone, television or air conditioning. For entertainment, he would play his guitar late in the evening to tunes of Eddy Arnold, Glen Campbell and Roger Miller,” said his son Scott.
In October 2021, Mr. Silverwood moved to Elkridge Estates off Lake Avenue in North Baltimore.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Doris Prem, a retired Union Memorial Hospital nurse; a daughter, Jody DiNardo of Crisfield; two sons, Scott Silverwood of Riderwood and Ross Silverwood, also of Crisfield; and five grandchildren. His brother, Robert M. Silverwood, died in 2004.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. June 26 at Second Presbyterian Church at 4200 St. Paul St.