Joseph S. Keelty, a retired home builder who developed Baltimore County's Rodgers Forge and Mays Chapel Village, and was known as a generous donor to schools and charities, died of heart disease Sunday at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson.
The former North Roland Park resident was 93. He was an official of the home building firm founded by his father, James Keelty.
Born in Baltimore and raised on Poplar Grove Street, he attended St. Bernardine School and was a 1940 McDonogh School graduate. He played lacrosse and football, and was a lieutenant on the school equestrian team.
He attended Washington and Lee University and earned a bachelor's degree from what is now Loyola University Maryland in 1943 in a wartime accelerated program. Mr. Keelty then attended Midshipmen's School at Notre Dame University and was commissioned an ensign in the Navy.
After the war, he joined the business founded by father, who died in 1944 while Mr. Keelty was in the service. The elder Mr. Keelty had constructed some 6,000 Baltimore homes and had purchased a dairy farm in Baltimore County as the future site of Rodgers Forge.
Mr. Keelty and his brother, James Keelty Jr., completed work, including apartments, at Rodgers Forge after World War II.
The brothers helped transform much of suburban Baltimore. Colleagues said they constructed homes in developments at Seminary Ridge and Longford North, both in Lutherville, Padonia Village in Timonium, Village Green in Riderwood, Doncaster Village in Carney and Crestwood in Anne Arundel County.
He retired about 20 years ago but retained an office at the company's Stevenson location.
Mr. Keelty followed local sports, including Loyola lacrosse, and had ownership interests in thoroughbred horses.
He continued philanthropic works begun by his father, who built St. Bernardine Roman Catholic Church on Edmondson Avenue and donated the church to the Archdiocese of Baltimore as a memorial to a deceased daughter.
Mr. Keelty established the Joseph Keelty Society at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, and funded scholarships at Stevenson and Washington and Lee universities. At the McDonogh School, Mr. Keelty donated work for the renovation of Keelty Hall as a three-story humanities center that opened in 1989.
He served on the board at Loyola from 1981 to 1995. He was awarded the university's Carroll Medal in 2002 and an honorary doctorate in 1992. He founded a scholarship named for his parents, James and Nora Keelty, for a Maryland student enrolled in the business school.
Survivors include 20 nieces and nephews. His companion, Ann Watts Grieves, died in 1998. Her children are James and Richard Grieves and a daughter, Katherine Grieves.more » « less