Theodore C. Denick, a veteran Baltimore attorney, outgoing Boy Scout leader and member of the Baltimore Jewish community, died of liver cancer March 12 at North Oaks Retirement Community in Pikesville. The longtime Lutherville resident was 95.
Mr. Denick was born on October 25, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York, to Jacob Yedinak, a businessman, and Dorothy “Dora” Castine, housewife. Mr. Denick moved to Glen Avenue in Baltimore with his family when he was 16. After graduating from high school at Baltimore City College, Mr. Denick was drafted into the military and served as a gunnery instructor based in St. Augustine, Florida during World War II.
After the war, Mr. Denick attended the University of Maryland on a GI Bill, at a time when there were far more students than dormitories, forcing Mr. Denick to live in a tent on the lawn of the mall. McKeldin from UMD for a year. Mr. Denick met Ruth Horrowitz at a Hillel event on campus in 1949 and they were married on December 24, 1950.
Mr. Denick and Mrs. Ruth H. Denick, who worked as accountants for 50 years for his law firm Bass & Denick, were married for 69 years. They were separated by COVID-19 health protocols in 2019 when Ms Denick was in hospice for eight weeks before she died on April 27, 2020. She tested positive for coronavirus the day before her death.
“You would never say ‘Ted’ without saying ‘Ted and Ruth.’ My mother has really been his partner throughout his life and she worked with him in the law firm,” said John Denick, their son.When they moved to a retirement community and Mrs. Denick needed an assisted living facility, Mr. Denick left his independent residence apartment to have lunch with her every afternoon.
“He didn’t miss a day until the lockdown with COVID hit,” said Mrs Robin Denick, his daughter-in-law. “He was her lawyer, he was a very loving and supportive spouse and it was a beautiful thing to see.”
While on their honeymoon, the newlyweds couldn’t find an open liquor store in upstate New York and decided to purchase a bottle of bubbly burgundy at their hotel. The couple then celebrated wedding anniversaries with sparkling burgundy.
Mr. Denick worked as a title searcher for a real estate company while attending evening classes at the University of Maryland Law School. He graduated in 1952 and decided, together with his wife, to change their surname from Yedinak to Denick. They thought it was easier to pronounce and good for business because potential customers could find it more quickly in the “D” section of the Yellow Pages phone book.
Their son John was born in 1954 and their daughter Carol was born in 1957. Carol Ann Denick died of cancer in 2004.
Mr. Denick and Leonard Bass formed their own law firm, Bass & Denick, based in downtown Baltimore in the Munsey Building on Calvert Street. They also created Businessman’s Savings & Loan. After 40 years, Mr. Bass retired and Mr. Denick joined his son, Mr. John Denick, in his law firm John H. Denick & Associates. Mr. Denick loved being a lawyer so much that he practiced for another 20 years before retiring at age 85.
Mr. Denick became well known for his real estate advice, along with other businesses and banks, and his clients were primarily entrepreneurs who became developers, landlords and investors. He was also general counsel for Sharon Savings & Loans. He created a family of Baltimore lawyers, as his son, daughter-in-law, brother, and nieces and nephews practice law.
“He had a very sharp analytical mind and he really had it all the way. He always knew what was going on. He never complained about anything. He was so optimistic,” said Ms. Robin Denick.” And he was just fun to be around, and I say it’s fun with a capital ‘F’ because people gravitated towards him because he had such a great sense of humor. He was so warm and inclusive.
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Mr. Denick and his wife joined Congregation Beth El in Pikesville in 1950. Mr. Denick loved the outdoors and was a Scoutmaster for the congregation’s troop for over 10 years. Although he didn’t have the best voice, he was known as a loud campfire singing leader.
He became chairman of the Jewish Committee on Scouting for the Baltimore Area Council and received a Silver Beaver, the highest honor for adult Scout leaders. He helped start a Jewish camping club for 20 families called the Baltimore Bunch, which he and his wife attended until the couple built a cabin at Woods Resort near Hedgesville, West Virginia. There they played golf and entertained friends.
Mr. Denick also enjoyed traveling overseas and across the state and would take his children and grandchildren on a big trip every five years. They have cruised and visited Israel several times, as well as Alaska and Hawaii, as well as England, Scotland, Spain, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the Greece. As a hobby, Mr. Denick enjoyed working with wood in his basement workshop and was a skilled carpenter.
He was known as a pipe smoker and over the years amassed an impressive collection of pipes. He also collects stamps.
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“If you were on the outskirts of an event, he waved you over and made you come and be part of the group. He was always so welcoming. He and his wife were always so hospitable. Especially when they were younger and able to entertain their friends, family and customers,” said Robin Denick.
Services were held on March 13 at The Sol Levinson Chapel at 8900 Reisterstown Road in Pikesville. He was buried at Beth El Memorial Park in Randallstown.
Besides his son and daughter-in-law, of Baltimore, he is survived by his brother, Bernie Denick, of Baltimore; grandchildren Daniel Levenstein of Lutherville, Julia and Laura Denick of New York; great-granddaughters, Clara and Leah Levenstein; and six nieces and several cousins. He was predeceased by his wife and daughter and sister, Leslie Peck.