Dock of the Bay
Vol. 9, No. 10
March 8-14, 2001
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After 33 Years Supplying Lumber, Nails and Answers, Smith’s Sells

It's a done deal.

After "two years and one month" of negotiations, Jack Smith of Smith Building Supplies has settled with Vienna, Va., developer J Donegan Company. In 60 days, Donegan will become owner of the six and one-third acres at the crossroads of Rt. 256, Churchton Road, and Rt. 468, Shady Side Road.

Thus ends the Smith family's stake in the lumber yard that's occupied that crossroads since 1935, supplying Southern Anne Arundel's boards, nails and answers.

So what will become of the property is an answer Jack Smith doesn't have. "They haven't told what they intend to do. I kept clear of that to keep from getting it messed up," says Smith, 76, whose plain-spoken wit has given him a reputation as the Harry S Truman of Southern Anne Arundel County.

Jay Donegan, who paid $1.5 million for the property, can't yet answer that question himself. "At this time, we don't have specific plans. We view it as an attractive acquisition at a well-located site," he told Bay Weekly. Donegan says his business, however, has been "strictly shopping center development, both new and redevelopment of existing centers. That's how we're approaching this property, as well."

How does Safeway's apparent head start on a shopping center two miles down the road affect his plans?

"Safeway's effect," said Donegan, "is not clear. We think it's an attractive area in any event. And Mr. Smith's a real gentleman."

By the time Smith locks the doors of his family business, he'll have had a half century to polish that reputation. Before and after the building supply and hardware store took the family name on April 1, 1968, it had been run as a neighborly concern. Marie Smith joined her husband working seven days a week - often 10 hours a day. She'll be retiring with him.

"She's greatly relieved. Maybe she can really enjoy herself now," he said.

Retiring with them will be Arthur Foote, 65. "He was born to work with customers," says Smith of the man who has worked by his side for 49 years, missing barely a day until this year, when illness has had him in and out of the hospital.

"We think we're kind of like a family," Jack Smith told Bay Weekly reporter M.L. Faunce last year ["Smith Building Supplies at the Crossroads," Vol. VIII, No 45: Nov. 9-15, 2000]. "We have some here that we had two, three, four from the same family, which I'm very proud of."

It's been the same on the other side of the counter, with customers returning year after year for brooms, buckets and quality building supplies, fair dealing, custom millwork, knowledgeable advice and friendly service. Housewives could get their special canning supplies at Smiths, handy homeowners their hooks and hasps and building contractors most everything a job needed.

So neighbors are wondering not only what's to become of Smith's property but also what they're going to do without Smith Building Supply.

Which is another question Jack Smith can't answer.

But he can tell you that you've got 23 more days from March 8 to finish shopping at Smith's. On March 19, sales start to "sell down inventory," Smith said.

Smith's doors will close for good at end of business Saturday, March 31, ending Smith Building Supplies' life - under the Smith name - at 33 years to the day.

After that, says Smith, "we're going to have an auction of whatever inventory is left plus trucks, forklifts and all the millworking equipment." The auction will be conducted April 26 and 27 by Peak Auctioneering from Kansas City, which specializes in building equipment sales.

At the end of an era, Smith professes himself relieved but by no means retiring.

"Oh well, I'm relieved that it's gone through. There are five stockholders, and I think they're all relieved," he said.

Of himself, he adds, "I intend to keep active. I'm not going to retire."

Doing just what he hasn't yet decided. "I'm considering a couple of possibilities, but they're so sketchy now I won't bore you with that," says Jack Smith.


Glory for Women of Color

Outstanding Young Women scholarship winners Valencia Person, a senior at Meade High School; Jessica Queen, a senior at Southern High School; and Tamara Giles, a senior at Severna Park High School.

"A pathfinder is someone who has forged paths ahead, someone who has done something for the first time and is just leading the way for someone else to come along and follow in those footsteps," said Dr. Classie Hoyle, chairwoman of the Ninth Annual Tribute to Women of Color Awards Ceremony in Glen Burnie March 3.

Cynthia Carter, the first African American elected to an Annapolis city office, is that pathfinder.

"I met her when we were both running for alderman. She won by a write-in vote. I knew how difficult that was, and knew she had a lot of potential to be a terrific leader," Hoyle explained in her nomination.

"I do what is needed," says Carter, who allowed herself to be "honored" by the award. Thus her experience working with the deaf led her to begin Relay Telephone Service in the county. It has since become Maryland Relay.

Sharing the spotlight with Carter was Carol Belt, winner of this year's Service to Youth award, for educational leadership.

Pathfinder Cynthia Carter, the first African American woman elected to Annapolis city office, with Dr. Faye W. Allen, wife of the late Aris T. Allen.

"Every Sunday, we see the growth and improvement of the choir under her direction," said Betty Hawkins, friend and parishioner of Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church.

In addition to leading the church choir, Belt directs her church youth ministries, leads the acolytes, chairs the scholarship committee and teaches Sunday and vacation Bible schools.

In the community, Belt spends time with a sick and shut-in senior citizen couple, as well as with the youth at Sarah's House in Fort Meade, the Chrysalis House in Crownsville and the Lighthouse Homeless Shelter in Annapolis.

"She is a very nurturing and positive person. She allows the children to vent and have opinions of their own, but keeps them on track if they go astray," Hawkins added.

Sharing honors with Belt and Carter, Sarah Ann Hammond received the Good Samaritan Award. Her nickname, Annapolis' "Mother Theresa," explains why.

Hammond spends every Saturday at the Asbury United Methodist Church Soup Kitchen, planning, preparing, serving the meal and cleaning afterward. In addition to raising her five children, Hammond has raised others and cared for an AIDS victim until his death.

"I nominated her because she is the kind of person, who in Christian behavior 'walks the walk and talks the talk'. She looks beyond color and beyond genders to help make life better for others," said Marilyn Drea, a fellow soup kitchen volunteer.

Sponsored by the Anne Arundel Health Systems and Nationwide Insurance, Tribute to Women of Color receives nominations from the community.

Also honored are 22 young women, mostly 12th graders, who receive Future Leader scholarships for the promise they show of living up to the high standards set by this year's adult award winners:

  • Sara Jean Hoyle, an Annapolis High School graduate, wins a full four-year School of Communications Scholarship to Howard University.

  • Kerra Strum wins a full four-year School of Engineering Scholarship to Howard University.

  • Christy Skipper, of Annapolis Senior High School, wins a full four-year scholarship to Morgan State University.

  • La-Shawn Pindell, of Annapolis Senior High School, wins the Morgan State University-Associate Scholarship.

  • Joy SCF Medley, of Annapolis High School, wins the $2,000 Anne Arundel Medical Center Scholarship.

  • Sheena Ountise Williamson, of Annapolis Senior High School, wins a $2,000 Nationwide Insurance and Financial Services Scholarship.

  • Nikki Washington, of Annapolis Senior High School, wins the $1,500 A Tribute to Women of Color Scholarship.

  • Keneka Stokes, of Meade Senior High School, wins Anne Arundel Community College's $1,000 scholarship.

  • Kathleen Parker, of Glen Burnie Senior High School, wins the $1,000 Dr. Carol S. Parham Future Educator Scholarship.

  • Tishelle Blaize, of Meade Senior High School, wins the $1,000 Dr. Faye W. Allen Scholarship.

  • Jessica Queen, of Southern High School, wins the $1,000 Joyce R. Phillip/A Tribute to Women of Color Scholarship.

  • Robin Green, a freshman at Augusta State University, wins the $1,000 Margurite A. Kirkland/A Tribute to Women of Color Scholarship.

  • Nashira Rawls, of Arundel Senior High School, wins the $1,000 NAACP/Gerald G. Stansbury Scholarship.

  • Lashawnia Martin, of Arundel High School, wins the $1,000 Reese & Sons Mortuary, P.A. Scholarship.

  • Tamara Giles, of Severna Park Senior High School, wins the YWCA/Barbara Hale Scholarship for $1,000.

  • Ashley Thompson, of Southern High School, wins the $500 Annapolis Bank and Trust Scholarship.

  • Valencia Person, of Meade Senior High School, wins the $500 County Executive Janet S. Owens Scholarship.

  • Tiffany Taylor, of Northeast Senior High School, wins the $500 Dick D'Amato Scholarship.

  • Brandi Evans, a Broadneck High School graduate, wins the $500 Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic Scholarship

  • Candice Price, of North County Senior High School, wins the $500 Law Offices of Addison and Darden Scholarship.

  • Tiffany Chappelle, of Meade Senior High School, wins the $500 Northrop Grumman Scholarship.

  • Megan Wake, of Arundel Senior High School, wins the $500 Reliable Cab Company Scholarship.

-Mary Catherine Ball

Don Howard: 1934-2001

If you've gotten a letter, business card or paperwork from Bay Weekly, you've seen Don Howard's work. About the time New Bay Times (as we were born) came into being, Don set up shop just down Deale-Churchton Road. He called his printing business VIC Quality Printing - Victory in Christ - for the faith that infused his daily life.

You might say good-bye; Don would wish you "a blessed day."

Faith also kept him going through times so hard that he flipped hamburgers at a fast food eatery to sustain his business. But he wasn't one for complaining and, as his footing improved, he made time to organize a classic and custom car show at the Deale Bluegrass Festival.

Most of us never heard a complaint, either, during the months he battled cancer. Even as the cancer tightened its hold, well-wishers got an upbeat answer. Thus it was that until the end, which came at his home on February 27, Don grew in virtue and esteem.

May he be blessed.


Way Downstream ...

In Japan, they're calling the new cosmetics "essence of driftwood." The line is sold by Japan's Electric Power Development Co., which is producing creams and lotions extracted from long-soaked wood fished out of a reservoir at one of its hydroelectric plants ...

California folks are upset over a Navy plan to open a bombing range at Fort Hunger Liggett on the edge of storied Big Sur. Navy officials said at a public hearing Saturday that the target range was fundamental to national security. Locals argued that the 3,000 annual sorties would damage wildlife and the environment ...

Sister Bay Update: Along Isahaya Bay off the Ariake Sea in southern Japan, a huge ruckus has broken out over loss of the thin green seaweed used to wrap sushi. Seaweed farmers complain that their seaweed market was devastated when the government erected steel sluice gates along a four-mile stretch of sea to prevent floods and to develop land ...

In South Africa, they're celebrating the birth of two rare white lion cubs at a park near Johannesburg. They're not albino; they're the product of a recessive gene that seldom shows up. There are believed to be just 30 or so white lions in the world ...

In California, the U.S. Forest Service has declared that this brewer is not their Bud. The Forest Service has ordered Anheuser-Busch to remove hundreds of cattle from federal land in the Sierra Nevadas because environmental damage from the Budweiser cattle is destroying streams...

Our Creature Feature comes from Cambodia, where animal-lovers are thrilled over the discovery of a creature thought to be extinct: the giant Royal Turtle. The turtles, which grow to about 70 pounds, once were deemed the exclusive property of Cambodia's royal family, which loved their turtle eggs. Researchers believe there are about 50 of the huge turtles living along a southern river bank, and they've asked for special help in saving them - help from the royal family.

Copyright 2001
Bay Weekly