Wallace “Wally” Dann, a World War II veteran who later became a lawyer and an enthusiastic oenophile, died of cancer Oct. 18 at the Mercy Ridge Retirement Community in Timonium. He was 101.
Wallace Dann, son of Wallace Dann Sr., an electrical engineer, and Gladys Snyder Hearn Dann, an Internal Revenue Service audit staff executive secretary, was born in Washington, and after his father’s death, his family moved to Forest Park where he graduated in 1938 from Forest Park High School.
He was working at the Mercantile-Safe Deposit & Trust Co. when he enlisted in 1940 in the Navy, and after training, was sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he worked maintaining floating targets that were used by gunnery crews. Because of his banking background, he was later assigned to clerical duties and promoted to the rank of yeoman.
Promoted to chief petty officer in 1944, he joined the crew of the newly commissioned destroyer USS Bristol and saw active duty in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Mr. Dann remained in the Navy Reserve, and after the outbreak of the Korean Wars, he was commissioned a lieutenant junior grade. He eventually became commanding officer of the Naval Security Group that was assigned to the Naval Training Center at Fort McHenry.
He had attained the rank of commander at his retirement from the reserve in 1968.
Discharged in 1945, Mr. Dann returned to the Mercantile and then began studying law at night at the University of Baltimore School of Law. He graduated in 1950, and in 1951, he and a law school classmate established a law practice in Dundalk.
After leaving the practice, he became associate general counsel to the Army Quartermaster General in Washington, a position he held until 1953 when he joined the practice of Baltimore lawyer Howard Bregel.
In 1967, he married the former Caroline Anne Jones, who had been a secretary and court reporter for Howard County Circuit Court Judge James Clark and James Macgill. She later worked in her husband’s law practice as an administrator of his law practice books and records. She died in 2020.
In 1978, after leaving Bregel & Bregel, he established a solo practice in Towson, and in 1987, became of counsel to the law firms of Evans, George, & Bronstein and Nagel, Dolina & Hobbs. He continued practicing law from his home office on Purlington Road in Timonium, where he had lived for 60 years.
“He never completely retired and remained a practicing attorney until his death,” said a daughter, Katherine P. “Kathy” Roberts of Derby, Connecticut.
He was president of the Maryland Plaintiffs Bar Association and had chaired its education committee. As a member of the Maryland State Bar Association, he had been chairman of its legal assistance to personnel committee.
Mr. Dann was a man of varied interests. He was an avid photographer and had outfitted a darkroom in the basement of his home where he developed his black and white and color photography.
Stimulated by a friend, he began making his own wine in 1976 with a group of like-minded winemakers. His wines won first prizes and best in show at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium, family members said. He served as the first general counsel of the American Wine Society, and at one of the organization’s conventions, his chardonnay took a first prize.
An accomplished woodworker, he liked making furniture and had even constructed a home office in his basement. He was also an avid reader of history and biography.
Beginning in 1969, he liked spending summers on an island in Lake Temagami, Ontario, where he spent hours exploring the lake and fishing, especially for trout.
A 32nd degree Mason, Mr. Dann was active in Masonic affairs. He was a member of Concordia Lodge #13, Scottish Rite and the Boumi Temple. He was also a member of the St. George’s Society, St. Andrew’s Society of Baltimore, Military Officers Association of America, and the Star Spangled Banner chapter, American Legion Kelly Maryland Post #174. For many years, he was a member of the Loch Raven Kiwanis Club and was president of the organization in 1966.
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He also had been an active member of the USS Bristol Veterans Association and attended the organization’s reunions until 2020. It finally disbanded in 2021.
In 1960, Mr. Dann became a communicant of Epiphany Episcopal Church, which at the time, was a mission chapel. He helped it become an independent parish, which today is known as St. Francis Episcopal Parish & Community Center. He has served as parish chancellor since 1976.
Since 2020, he had lived at Mercy Ridge, and as he gained centenarian status, Mr. Dann showed no diminution of his abilities, family members said.
“Wally had an impressive memory. He could recount vividly episodes form his youth, including details of places and names,” according to a biographical profile submitted by by his family. “He navigated around the lake, knowing landmarks and prime fishing spots that some of the locals didn’t know.”
“He was always very sociable and had a lot of hobbies, and he clearly loved good wine,” Ms. Roberts said in a telephone interview, “He enjoyed life.”
A memorial service was held at his church Oct. 29.
In addition to his daughter, Mr. Dann is survived by a son, Geoffrey Dann of Ventura, California; another daughter, Pamela D. Butler of Virginia Beach, Virginia; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.