Keith L. Straley was a retired vice president of Jarvis Steel later ran a Savage Mill antique business.
Keith L. Straley was a retired vice president of Jarvis Steel later ran a Savage Mill antique business. (Handout)

Keith L. Straley, the retired vice president of Jarvis Steel who also ran a Savage Mill antique business, died of Parkinson’s disease complications July 22 at the VNA Hospice House in Vero Beach, Fla. The former Baldwin resident was 79.

Born in Mechanicsburg, Pa., and raised in Jacobus, he was a 1958 graduate of York High School, where he met his future wife, Susan J. Nickol.


He earned a degree in business administration at Penn State University and remained an active alumnus.

He became a certified public accountant and joined the Price Waterhouse accounting firm. He settled in Baltimore and lived on Register Avenue in Rodgers Forge before moving to Baldwin more than 40 years ago.

Mr. Straley left Price Waterhouse to join Baltimore Contractors, then on South Central Avenue in Harbor East. He was hired by Belle M. Heywood, the firm’s treasurer and controller. Years later, after her death, Mr. Straley incorporated her name into an antiques business he and his wife operated.

Mr. Straley later worked for a window fabricator and an attorney before he became a vice president, treasurer and controller at the Jarvis Steel Company on Patapsco Avenue in Brooklyn.

“I relied and depended upon Keith,” said Victor “Bruz” Frenkil, the firm’s former owner. “He was a man of high ethics. He was also brilliant in his field. His strength was in working numbers and in researching contracts and proposals. He had a great legal mind.”

A Jarvis vice president of the steel division and co-worker, Patrick M. Dorn, a Rodgers Forge resident, said: “He was a great asset to us. He took over all accounting, taxes and legal work. He was good at investments, too.”

Mr. Dorn recalled that they celebrated their birthdays together in the office for 30 years. Mr. Straley preferred Sabatino’s in Little Italy and Vinny’s on Holabird Avenue.

“Keith was a chardonnay drinker,” Mr. Dorn said.

When he was named executor of Ms. Heywood’s estate, he and his wife founded Cousin Belle’s Antiques to sell the contents. They initially worked out of their Baldwin home and later rented a space at Savage Mill.

The experience proved financially successful. Mr. Straley expanded the business and specialized in men’s Hamilton watches — he kept an inventory of about 50 — and Roseville art pottery. He also sold Depression glass and country wares.

“The antique business was their empty nest occupation,” said his son, Craig Straley of San Francisco. “Roseville pottery was his personal interest. And Hamilton watches were made not far from his home in Pennsylvania.”

He and his wife also packed their inventory several times a year and bought and sold antiques at shows in Brimfield, Mass., and in Lititz and New Oxford, Pa.

“My father kept good records — all by hand — of what he paid for a piece and what he sold it for,” his son said.

Mr. Straley enjoyed classical music and maintained a large music library. He also took cruises in Europe and through the Panama Canal.


Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Aug. 5 at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3911 Sweet Air Road in Phoenix, where he was a member.

In addition to his son, survivors include his wife of 56 years, Susan J. Nickol, a homemaker; two other sons, Jeffrey Straley of Dover, Pa., and Timothy Straley of Vero Beach; a brother, Gary Straley of Wilmington, Del.; and seven grandchildren.