Stephen Phillips Wesley Gilbert Sr., a commercial real estate broker and nature lover who sailed the Assawoman Bay in Ocean City, died of multiple causes related to heart disease Wednesday at University of Maryland St. Joseph’s Medical Center. He was 64 and lived in Towson.
Born in Baltimore, he was the son of Charles Gordon Gilbert Sr., a commercial real estate appraiser, and Cordelia Phillips, a homemaker.
A 1977 McDonogh School graduate who played soccer and lacrosse, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at what is now Towson University.
While in college, he was a Rusty Scupper cook at its Timonium location and at the Inner Harbor, where was part of the team that opened its raw bar.
He remained an accomplished home chef and regularly roasted Thanksgiving turkeys for his extended family. He steamed hard crabs and made his own gravies.
Mr. Gilbert met his future wife, Joan “Jodie” Foster, while in high school. Their first date was a McDonogh dance.
He initially became a Bill’s Carpet Barn sales representative and earned awards for his ability to connect with customers.
“He was the life of the party. He was the guy who was the center of events in the kitchen, where the whole family gathered. He had all the family recipes,” said his sister Caroline Gilbert Moore. “He knew the formula for oyster stuffing. It was a labor of love and it took him half a day. He involved the entire family in this production.”
“He was stubborn and ruled the roost in the kitchen,” she said.
Mr. Gilbert joined his father at C. Gordon Gilbert & Associates in downtown Baltimore. Family members said he learned the real estate business and gained an interest in the brokerage side of commercial properties.
He worked for the Manekin real estate firm from 2001 to 2008.
Mr. Gilbert then joined the Commercial Brokerage Group in Towson and spent the remaining part of his career leasing and selling retail shops and offices in the Baltimore area.
“He was a funny and a jovial guy who was a people person,” said his brother, Charles Gordon “Gordie” Gilbert Jr.
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Mr. Gilbert owned the Bay Woody, a vintage wooden boat that he maintained and sailed for nature watching and family outings.
His sister Caroline Moore said his favorite place was their family house at Ocean Pines.
“He was never happier than when he was cooking up crabs for a family feast on the porch, fishing in the hideaway tributaries of Assawoman Bay and riding his bike around the water’s edge or body surfing in Ocean City. Then he came home for a long outdoor shower,” Moore said. “He was an avid bird watcher and never tired of the Nature channel.”
She also said, “He had a hummingbird that would come and visit him and hovered by his face. This brought him so much joy.”
“He was good at sales, cooking and family events,” his sister said. “As a seller, he knew how to put together a package that would answer his client’s needs. And when cooking a meal he would improvise on recipes to serve up a combination of ingredients. I always thought he should have been a chef.”
Survivors include his wife of 39 years, Joan “Jodie” Foster, a homemaker and Johns Hopkins Hospital volunteer; three sons, S.P. Wesley Gilbert Jr. of Jarrettsville, Charles Grayson Gilbert of Towson and Harrison Brown Gilbert of Towson; two sisters, Phyllis Smith of Upper Arlington, Ohio, and Caroline Gilbert Moore of Baltimore; a brother, Charles Gordon “Gordie” Gilbert Jr. of Baltimore; and two grandchildren.
A celebration of life will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home at 6500 York Road in Rodgers Forge.