Wayne R. Schaumburg, a retired Baltimore public schools teacher who gave walking tours of Green Mount Cemetery and traced the path of the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 by bus and foot, died of pancreatic cancer Friday at his Ocean View, Delaware, home. The former longtime Perry Hall resident was 76.
“There was nobody like Wayne,” said Johns Hopkins, executive director of Baltimore Heritage. “He helped more people fall in love with Baltimore and all of our wonderful quirky historic places and history than anybody I know.”
Jim Burger, a Baltimore photographer and writer, is a longtime friend.
“People keep saying his death is a tremendous loss, and it is, but he left so much information behind that otherwise would be lost,” Mr. Burger said. “He left behind so much about Baltimore’s rich history, and that’s his legacy.”
Walter Schamu, an architect, and founder of SM+P Architects, said: “Wayne was a huge source for the Dead Architects Society as he was truly Mr. Baltimore History who also had a deep interest in the city’s architecture.
“He was very unassuming and had absolutely no ego. He’s probably in heaven right now asking St. Peter about the streets, how old they are, and who built them.”
Wayne Ronald Schaumburg, son of Norman Schaumburg Jr., a draftsman at the old Western Electric Co.’s Point Breeze works, and Doris Kramer Schaumburg, a Lutheran High School administrator, was born in Baltimore and raised in a McKewin Avenue rowhouse in Waverly.
“Wayne always said he was raised in the shadow of Memorial Stadium and that the lights from the stadium filled his bedroom and made him into a lifelong fan of the Orioles and the old Colts,” said his companion of 14 years, Deborah A. Klenk, an adjunct instructor at Wilmington University in New Castle, Delaware, and former dean of Cecil College in Bay View.
He was a 1964 graduate of Baltimore City College and remained active in the high school’s alumni association throughout his life. “He wore his City ring at every opportunity,” Ms. Klenk said.
He earned a bachelor’s degree at what is now Towson University, where he maintained a double major in history and geography, and obtained a master’s degree from what is now Morgan State University, and held a second master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University with an emphasis on architecture.
He began teaching social studies in city public schools in 1968, first at Edmondson-Westside High School, and then 16 years at Northern High School. He spent the last 20 years of his career in Home and Hospital Services as a tele-teacher, teaching students who were either homebound or in hospital. He retired in 2007.
Mr. Schaumburg was also a guest instructor in Baltimore history at Towson University, Notre Dame of Maryland University, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore City Community College, CCBC Essex, Harford Community College and Roland Park Country School.
Not only had he immersed himself in Baltimore history throughout his lifetime, but he also began giving walking tours in 1985 of Green Mount Cemetery. The cemetery, which began receiving the dead in 1839, was one of his favorite local landmarks and perhaps one of his most popular tours.
With gray hair and a Germanic face that was highlighted by a pair of large black glasses and wearing a hat slung back over his forehead, Mr. Schaumburg exuded the energy of a much younger man, as he bounded up and down the roadways and paths of the cemetery, eager to talk about the next grave he was steering his charges to. So everyone had access to him, he limited the tour to 20 people.
Through nearly four decades, he introduced thousands to some of the city and state’s most historic luminaries from government, business, medicine, education and the arts, such as Elijah Bond, inventor of the Ouija board, and Elizabeth “Betsy” Patterson, who married Jerome Bonaparte, Napoleon’s youngest brother, who later returned to France, where the marriage was terminated, but not before fathering a son in Baltimore.
Some of the other notables spending eternity there include merchant princes Johns Hopkins, Enoch Pratt, Henry Walters, A.S. Abell, founder of The Baltimore Sun, as well as presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth, and his actor father, Junius Brutus Booth, and more than 20 Civil War commanders from the North and the South. Author Walter Lord of “A Night to Remember” fame and poet Sidney Lanier rest there as well.
“Green Mount Cemetery is literally Baltimore’s history,” Mr. Schaumburg explained in a 2016 Baltimore City Paper interview.
Dean Krimmel is a historian and owner of Creative Museum Services/Qm2, a Baltimore museum consulting firm.
“I first met Wayne in the 1980s and that’s when I first started calling him Mr. Green Mount,” said Mr. Krimmel, who also noted Mr. Schaumburg’s large slide collection.
Mr. Burger, who had been on his cemetery tour numerous times, said Mr. Schaumburg always added something new to the tour.
Mr. Schamu added: “If you can make a cemetery sparkle, and Wayne certainly did that, plus he had boundless energy for it.
“Two years ago, he passed the baton to us at Baltimore Heritage to continue the Green Mount Cemetery tour that he had been giving for years, and they will always be called ‘The Wayne Schaumburg Tour.’ That’s what Baltimore calls them. That’s what they are.”
From 1985 to 1990, he led a Baltimore rowhouse tour with the old Baltimore City Life Museums. He later added historic Westminster Presbyterian Church and its surrounding cemetery to his repertoire, which is home and the final resting place of poet Edgar Allan Poe.
He began giving what he called his “Great Baltimore Fire Tour” in 1997 in conjunction with the Fire Museum in Lutherville, and in 2004, established the tour with the Maryland Historical Society, now the Maryland Center for History and Culture.
“I think he had 30 different talks on Baltimore history that he gave all over the state on multiple nights during the week where he shared his love of the city,” Mr. Hopkins said. “He was a master storyteller and could weave stories from all Baltimore time periods and genres.”
“Wayne would go anywhere to share his stories and he was generous with his time,” Mr. Kimmel said.
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He was on the board of Baltimore Heritage, whose meetings he was still attending by Zoom, Mr. Hopkins said. He had also served on the board of the Baltimore City Historical Society, and Friends of Maryland’s Olmstead and Landscape, and at his death, in addition to Baltimore Heritage, was on the boards of Friends of Perry Hall Mansion, the Clifton Mansion and The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House.
He also managed a website, Wayne’s Guide to Walks, Talks and Tours of Baltimore.
Mr. Schaumburg was an avid collector of Baltimore postcards and photos. He also maintained an interest in the Baltimore Fire and painted screens.
He had been a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church, Immanuel Lutheran Church and Community Lutheran Church in Frankford, Delaware.
His wife of 27 years, the former Judith Susan Sherwood, a registered nurse who later became a May Co. claims adjuster, died in 2006.
Plans for a service to be held in August are incomplete.
In addition to Ms. Klenk, Mr. Schaumburg is survived by his son, Timothy S. Schaumburg of Perry Hall; a daughter, Jennifer A. Schaumburg of Devon, Pennsylvania; and a sister, Linda Osborne of Parkville.