John "Jack" Mosner Jr., a retired Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co. official who chaired the Maryland Racing Commission and was treasurer of the Maryland State Fair, died of a stroke Nov. 23 at his Sudbrook Park home. He was 89.
Born in Cumberland, he was the son of John H. Mosner Sr., a treasurer of the Cumberland Fair and a banking official, and Marguerite O'Connor.
A 1943 graduate of La Salle High School, he enlisted in the Navy and served in the Mediterranean in the North African and Italian campaigns.
After leaving military service, he joined the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Comptroller of the Currency in its national bank examination division. He worked through the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond's Baltimore Branch, then joined the old Pikesville Peoples Bank in early 1953.
"On Thanksgiving Day 1952, he came to our house in Randallstown, and my father hired him on the spot to be vice president of Pikesville Peoples Bank," said his attorney, David Downes, who was also a close friend.
"Jack was a good businessman," Mr. Downes said. "He was demanding of those who worked for him, and his employees loved him."
In 1963, he became an assistant vice president of the old Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co. in downtown Baltimore. He rose through its ranks and became president and director of Mercantile Bankshares Corp., the parent company of the Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co.
In that capacity, Mr. Mosner supervised the bank's affiliates throughout Maryland. When he retired in 1991 he was vice chairman and a director of the bank.
"Jack's great virtue was that he had a Ph.D. in common sense. People often make things too complicated. Jack made things simple," said the bank's former president, H. Furlong Baldwin. "He applied that to his work. He was demanding but very fair. Those who worked for him knew he was right."
Mr. Baldwin said Mr. Mosner was an "integral part" of the success of Maryland banks that worked in conjunction with Mercantile.
"People at the bank lived in fear of his red pencil," said Mr. Baldwin. "You didn't want a 'red pencil gram' from Jack."
In 1987, Gov. William Donald Schaefer appointed Mr. Mosner to the Maryland Racing Commission. He became its chairman in 1991.
"Jack had a combination of passion for the sport juxtaposed with a keen sense of its business," said Joseph A. DeFrancis, past chief executive officer of the Maryland Jockey Club, who resides in the Washington suburbs. "He was an advocate for the average fan and bettor and also understood all the nuances of what was necessary on the macro level."
Mr. Mosner had been a director of the Maryland Million, the annual day of racing that features Maryland thoroughbreds.
"After the Maryland Million was held, he would ask us to gauge the event's success," said Crickett Goodall, director of the Maryland Million. "He could be hard-nosed. He wanted to know if it had been a financial success, or whether the attendance was up. You could not duck his questions."
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Mr. Mosner also served as a member of the Maryland Transportation Commission, retiring from the commission in 2004 after 20 years of service.
He was a former trustee of the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and a board member of Hamilton Federal Bank.
He was also a director and treasurer of the Maryland State Fair and Agricultural Society, and a founder and past president of the Baltimore County Police Foundation.
Services are private.
Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Mary Hilda McMillen; two sons, John G. Mosner of Pikesville and Robert M. Mosner of Eldersburg; a daughter, Patricia A. Mosner of Pikesville; two brothers, Edward F. Mosner of Carmel, Calif. and Michael A. Mosner of Augusta, Ga.; and a granddaughter.