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Michael Warlow, retired attorney and a cappella and theater singer known for attention to detail, dies

Michael Cranston Warlow was a partner at Wright, Robinson and Dowell, a firm later known as Wright, Constable and Skeen, then set up an office as a sole practitioner in Towson. He retired in 2012.
Michael Cranston Warlow was a partner at Wright, Robinson and Dowell, a firm later known as Wright, Constable and Skeen, then set up an office as a sole practitioner in Towson. He retired in 2012.

Michael Cranston Warlow, a retired attorney who was active in The Young Victorian Theatre Company, died of complications of Lewy body dementia and Parkinsonism on Oct. 1 at the Keswick Multi-Care Center. The Woodbrook resident was 76.

Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, he was the son of Francis Wayland Warlow, a Dickinson College English professor, and his wife, Mary Madeleine Howard, a librarian.

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He attended Carlisle Senior High School but spent his senior year in France, where his father was a Fulbright professor at Rennes and Grenoble universities. He later told his friends he had no traditional high school graduation and spent seven hours traveling to Paris to take an SAT exam. He found learning chemistry in French a challenge.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts at Haverford College and was a graduate of the Columbia University School of Law. He met his future wife, Melissa McCarty, in his freshman year of college. They married in 1968.

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He attended Naval Justice School in Newport, Rhode Island, and served in the Marine Corps from 1969 to 1973. He taught at The Marine Corps Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, and served the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Iwakuni, Japan, where he was deputy staff judge advocate.

He was commended for “superior performance and leadership” and “exceptional professional knowledge, resourcefulness and technical ability” He left military service as a captain.

“My father was particular, a detail-oriented person. He had beautiful handwriting. He was a neat dresser. I remember the way he would construct a sandwich. It would be done exactly,” said his daughter, Mary Maitland Warlow Bushel. “As a father, he was never happier than when he was talking about us, his children.”

On weekends when he made his family breakfast, he produced perfect silver-dollar shaped pancakes. He also prepared an exacting cup of coffee and washed the pot thoroughly before starting.

Mr. Warlow moved to Baltimore and was admitted to the Maryland State Bar in 1970. He became a partner at Wright, Robinson and Dowell, a firm later known as Wright, Constable and Skeen. He later set up an office as a sole practitioner in Towson and retired in 2012.

“He had an approachable demeanor and was an excellent litigator. He taught me, as a young lawyer, to be careful, act with professionalism and how to deal with judges,” said Brian Goodman, a friend and attorney. “He had a dry wit and was super competitive. He was a patient man and was conversant in a number of fields — sports, politics, current events and the law.”

Wally Pinkard, a friend, said, “Michael was a compassionate guy. He was a sensitive, thoughtful person. He was a terrific father, too. If you developed a friendship with him, it was a friendship that would last for life.”

Mr. Warlow served several terms as senior warden and vestry member at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Roland Park from the late 1990s through 2014. At the church bazaar, he was known as an “oyster shucker extraordinaire.” He also served as co-chair of the Compensation and Benefits Committee for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

“In his heart he was a mediator. He was a man who sought to bring people together and to find the center,” said the Rev. William “Bill” Krulak, former St. David’s rector.

From 1975 through the mid-1990s he sang with the Foxheads, a local a cappella male singing group, later called the Jones Falls Express.

For over 20 years, he participated in the Young Victorian Theatre’s Gilbert & Sullivan productions. He built sets and sang in its chorus.

“He had a fine tenor voice,” said Mr. Goodman, his fellow attorney, who is the theatrical company’s general manager.

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He also enjoyed singing with the Annapolis Chorale under the direction of Ernest Green.

Mr. Warlow was a trout fisherman and a bourbon connoisseur. He was a member of the Maryland Club and an avid squash player. He hunted ducks on the Honga River near Hoopers Island on the Eastern Shore.

“He was an excellent shot but it was also a calculated shot, He had to see the bird clearly and he had to want to take that shot,” said his son, Whitney Cranston Warlow of Jupiter, Florida.

A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 4700 Roland Ave. The family announced that space is limited. Registration is required at stdavidsrolandpark.com Face masks are required. The service will also be available on Facebook.

In addition to his wife of 52 years, the director of the William G. Baker Memorial Fund, and his son and daughter, survivors include another daughter, Melissa Warlow Elkins of Baltimore; two sisters, Mary Ellen Warlow of Arlington, Virginia, and Frances J. Warlow of Carlisle, Pennsylvania; and seven grandchildren.

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