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Richard J. Roszel III, a leader in Episcopal Diocese

Richard J. Roszel III, a leader in Episcopal Diocese
Richard J. Roszel III was a real estate broker and a leader in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

Richard J. Roszel III, a real estate broker and a leader in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, died of cancer Dec. 2 at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Village of Cross Keys resident was 75.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Bolton Hill, he was the son of R. Julian Roszel Jr., a banker, and Eleanor Jackson Merryman, whose family owned Baltimore County's Hayfields. He was a graduate of City College and attended the University of Maryland, College Park.

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Mr. Roszel sold securities before he joined the Rouse Co., where he was an administrative assistant to Willard G. Rouse, the brother of developer James Rouse.

In 1970, he began selling residential real estate for Hill & Co., then located on Charles Street in Mount Vernon. He often handled properties in Baltimore and later became an owner of the firm. He sold his interest in the business in 1985 and then became its vice president.

He had been an officer of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors and served on its finance and executive committees.

"It's a new chapter for me," Mr. Roszel said in a 1994 Baltimore Sun story when he was named manager of the Long & Foster Roland Park office. "It was an opportunity to manage an office for a large company, which I haven't done before."

He was the 1972 president of Baltimore Heritage, the preservation organization. Mayor William Donald Schaefer appointed Mr. Roszel to the city's Commission for Historic and Architectural Preservation in 1976. Among other causes, he supported the rebuilding of Park Avenue's Beethoven Apartments after a fire there in 1978.

As a member of the Merryman family, he was a cousin of the Duchess of Windsor and was filmed and quoted in a 1999 Arts and Entertainment Channel biography of her life.

Mr. Roszel was a church and Diocese of Maryland leader. As a boy, he was an acolyte and trained the next generation of children in the congregation for roles in the church.

"Dick Roszel was a tireless and dedicated volunteer for the church in many capacities, and he will be missed by all with whom he served," said Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

As a 10-year-old, he sang in the choir of St. David's Church in Roland Park. Family members said he was a student of the Bible and frequently quoted from it. He was also knowledgeable about church liturgy.

In the 1960s, he helped revive Memorial Episcopal Church in Bolton Hill when its congregation was dwindling. He recruited a popular rector, the Rev. F. Lyman "Barney" Farnham.

"Dick was a personal mentor and I appreciated his counsel," said the Rev. Timothy Grayson, rector of the Church of the Messiah in Hamilton, who worked with Mr. Roszel with a group called Education for Ministry.

He then joined Old St. Paul's Church and became its senior warden. He volunteered at Paul's Place in Southwest Baltimore and spent nights at his own church's undercroft supervising a homeless shelter.

"Dick was a Christian and it permeated every aspect of his life," said Jeffrey P. Ayres, chancellor of the Diocese of Maryland. "He was a straight shooter. He was 100 percent candid and you couldn't find a more honorable person. His word was sacrosanct. He was also the eternal optimist. The cup was always three-quarters full with him."

Nearly 27 years ago, Mr. Roszel became a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and was a leader in a daily meeting held in North Baltimore. Members of the organization said he was a popular speaker and engaging raconteur who made himself available to those who wished to become sober.

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Friends in the organization said he often said, "Just don't drink." When invited to social events where alcohol was served, he stayed only a short time and explained to the host that he was making "a cameo" appearance.

"Dick lit up a room when he entered it. I never knew anyone who enjoyed life more than he," said Richard Caine, a friend who lives in Baltimore. "If you asked him how he was, he'd reply, 'The better for seeing you.' He seemed to know everyone in Baltimore, if not the state."

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. David's Episcopal Church, 4700 Roland Ave., where he was a vestry member and served on its music and worship committee.

Survivors include two sons, Stephen George Roszel and Stewart William Alexander Roszel; his sister, Eleanor Merryman Roszel "Merry" Rogers, all of Baltimore; and two grandchildren. His marriage to the former Elizabeth Robinette Kemp ended in divorce.

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