He and his brother ran an apparel manufacturing business and also owned Stonehenge, a Charles Street retail store
Robert Bricken, who co-owned a men’s and women’s apparel manufacturing firm and once had a retail store in Mount Vernon, died of brain cancer Nov. 13 at his Glyndon home. He was 77.
Born in Baltimore and raised on Calloway Avenue in Forest Park, he was the son of Morris Bricken, a clothing manufacturer, and Bernice Silverberg. He attended City College and graduated from the Hun School in Princeton, N.J. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Rollins College and then served in the Army Reserves.
Mr. Bricken joined the family business, the Dan-Mar Manufacturing Co., which made men’s dress trousers in a plant in Manchester. He, his father and brother added a second plant in Allentown, Pa.
“We made and sold a basic line of high-end dress trousers for Paul Stuart, Nieman’s, Saks, Nordstrom and Louie’s of Boston and many more stores. We probably had 1,000 accounts,” said his brother, Barry Bricken of Spring Lake, N.J. “We competed with Zanella and the European men’s dress pant lines. We were of equal quality to them.”
After their father retired, the two brothers divided responsibilities. Robert Bricken ran the business from an office in Owings Mills.
Barry Bricken was the designer who expanded the operation to include women’s clothing in addition to the line of men’s dress pants called Trousers by Barry.
In 1969, he and his brother decided to open a men’s retail store, Stonehenge Ltd., at 817 N. Charles St. in Mount Vernon.
“My brother came up with the name. He had been to Stonehenge in England, and we were selling Polo, Brioni and Sussex and Trousers by Barry and other lines with an English-type look,” said Barry Bricken. “It was a beautiful store.”
After a decade, the brothers decided to close the store and concentrate on their apparel manufacturing, which expanded widely in the 1970s and 1980s.
The brothers later moved their manufacturing to Tampa, Fla., and focused on a line of women’s apparel called Barry Bricken. The firm remains in family ownership as Dan-Mar Manufacturing, Inc.
Mr. Bricken enjoyed skiing and made numerous trips to Vail, Colo. He also enjoyed scuba diving in the Cayman Islands.
“He was a fabulous, graceful and fearless skier,” said John Beckley, an attorney and friend who lives in Upperco. “He would fly down the toughest runs with his kids or a few of his intrepid friends trying to keep up. He was a good scuba diver, an OK golfer and constant photographer.”
He said Mr. Bricken was a nature lover who created a rooftop, glass-enclosed rain forest at his house. He kept tree frogs, turtles, lizards and koi.
He also took up riding and fox hunting. He joined the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club. He told his friends, “The club was hard to survive in, not to get in.” He hunted in northern Baltimore County
“Riding became his passion,” said his wife, Holly Catzen. “He hunted and jumped. He had good horses, and that enabled him to pick up the sport at a late age. He had a symbiotic relationship. He took good care of his horses and they took good care of him. His favorite was a palomino named Whinny.” As Mr. Bricken traveled for business and pleasure, he often shopped for his extensive collection of lead soldiers and other figures. He also bought unusual men’s belt buckles. Services were private. In addition to his brother and wife of 21 years, a former W.B. Doner advertising executive, survivors include a son, Timothy Bricken of Chestertown; two daughters: Karen Bricken and Jaimie Scheibler, both of Boulder, Colo; and two grandsons. His marriage to Natalie Myerberg ended in divorce. Robert Bricken took up riding, jumping and fox hunting later in his life.