Robert L. White, a native and longtime resident of Catonsville who amassed one of the world's largest privately held collections of John F. Kennedy memorabilia, died from a heart attack on Oct. 11 at Howard County General Hospital.
He was 54.
White, who moved to Woodbine in Howard County a few years ago, attracted widespread media attention in 1996 at the time of the Sotheby's auction of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis estate, when he unveiled his 150,000-piece collection to a nationwide audience.
He was featured on various TV programs, from "Today" on NBC to news segments on CNN, as well as in newspapers across the country, including the New York Times and the Boston Globe.
A collector since childhood, White amassed more than 300,000 items during his lifetime, most of which he stored in the basement of his mother's Catonsville home.
White's fascination with Kennedy began as a teenager and intensified following the JFK assassination in 1963.
After the president's death, White developed a friendship with Kennedy's personal secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, who is believed to have been the major benefactor in his Kennedy collection.
Among the artifacts in White's Kennedy collection _ some valued at a half-million dollars and up _ were two flags that flew on Kennedy's limousine the day he was assassinated in Dallas, the commander-in-chief ring given to him by Gen. Douglas MacArthur and the St. Christopher gold money clip given to him by his wife Jackie on the couple's first wedding anniversary.
A graduate of Mount St. Joseph High School in Irvington and Catonsville Community College, White was drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War in 1968.
After his release from military service in 1971, he became a cleaning products salesman for his father's company, Porters Supply Inc., from which he retired in 1994.
Following his retirement, White spent several years searching for a museum where he could exhibit his Kennedy pieces and act as curator. City officials in Annapolis had expressed an early interest in the proposal, but ultimately turned White down.
White eventually displayed 600 of the most distinctive pieces at the Florida International Museum in St. Petersburg as part of a two-year exhibition that ended in May 2002.
A funeral for White was held on Oct. 15 at St. Mark Catholic Church on Melvin Avenue, where White was a parishioner.
White is survived by his wife, Jacquelyn; son Zachary S. White of Ellicott City; stepson D. Christopher Slick of Eldersburg; brother William M. White of Catonsville; three sisters, Delores Twamley of Princeton, N.J., Dorothy Mason of Catonsville and Margaret Codella of Cranford, N.J.; and a granddaughter.
Brian "Bee" Todd died on Sept. 4 in Dorchester General Hospital in Cambridge, Md. He was 36.
Born on July 3, 1967, he was the son of Louis Todd and Norma (Wilkerson) Todd, both living in Hurlock, Md. After graduating from North Dorchester High School, Mr. Todd had been employed at the Sterling-Ashton Funeral Home in Catonsville and at the Zeller Funeral Home in East New Market. He later owned and managed Chesapeake Towers.
Paternal grandparents Sangston and Florence Todd preceded him in death, as did Edward and Oneida Shooks, maternal grandparents; a sister, Lou Anne Todd; and Billy Todd, his nephew.
In addition to his parents, he is survived by Melody Shaw-Todd of Hurlock, his spouse; a son, Tristan Todd; four brothers, Steve Todd of Parsonsburg, William Todd, also of Hurlock, Thomas "Bo" Todd of Galestown and Dennis Todd Sr. of Eldorado; two sisters, Sandra Deibler of Sanford, N.C., and Janice Tesi of Blacksburg, Va.; plus several nieces and nephews.
The Rev. Robert Thomas conducted a service at the Zeller Funeral Home. William, Thomas, Dennis Sr. and Janice Todd, Jake Jones and Eddie Hurst were selected as pallbearers for the interment in Unity Washington Cemetery.
Those desiring to make a memorial contribution may direct it to the Tristan S. Todd Education Fund, c/o National Bank of Cambridge, P.O. Box F, Hurlock, MD 21643.
Clairidge Road resident Ralph Francis Stritzinger, 82, passed away on Sept. 16.
A native of Glendale, Pa., he was the son of the late Aloysius and Sophia Stritzinger. During World War II, the deceased served in the U.S. Coast Guard, 1942-45. He was stationed in Morehead City, N.C., St. Louis, Mo., and Groton, Conn. Mr. Stritzinger later worked as a machinist.
In addition to his spouse, Inez Stritzinger, he is survived by daughters Nancy Sabella, Peggy Platt and Col. Janice Stritzinger, U.S.A.F.; Robert and Paul Stritzinger, his sons; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and siblings Rita Guthrie and Aloysius Stritzinger Jr.
Relatives and friends paid their respects at the Ambrose Funeral Home. A Mass of Christian Burial was offered at St. Agnes Catholic Church. Burial took place in Woodlawn Cemetery.
The family suggests that contributions in Mr. Stritzinger's name be directed to the World War II Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 96766, Washington, D.C. 20090-6766.
Obituary announcements run free of charge in the Catonsville Times. Please send information to the Times, 757 Frederick Road, Suite 103, Catonsville, Md., 21228. Photos are welcome. For information, to receive a form that may help the family organize information, call us at 410-788-4500.