Wal­ter D. Kone

Re­tired Bal­ti­more pub­lic schools ed­u­ca­tor and World War II Army vet­eran sang in church choirs

Baltimore Sun - - OBITUARIES - By Fred­er­ick N. Ras­mussen

Wal­ter D. Kone, a re­tired Bal­ti­more pub­lic schools ed­u­ca­tor and a World War II vet­eran who en­joyed singing in church choirs, died Feb. 4 in his sleep at his home in Waverly. He was 93.

Wal­ter Donzell Kone, the son of Charles Lit­tle­ton Kone, a car­pen­ter, and his wife, Lulu Zink Kone, was born in Texas, Bal­ti­more County, one of eight chil­dren, and raised in Tow­son at the old Bosley Ho­tel on Shealy Av­enue, which his mother man­aged.

“The ho­tel stood at 1 Shealy Ave. where they later built Hut­zler’s de­part­ment store,” said Sabra Ir­ish, a grand­daugh­ter who lives in Madi­son, Alabama. “He loved telling sto­ries about slid­ing down the ho­tel’s ban­is­ter.”

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Tow­son High School in 1944, Mr. Kone worked at the Bendix Ra­dio Corp. on East Joppa Road un­til join­ing the Army in 1945. He served with the 507th An­ti­air­craft Ar­tillery Gun Bat­tal­ion, Bat­tery B, in Manila. While serv­ing in Manila, he had a chance meet­ing with his older brother, Ken­neth M. Kone, who was serv­ing as a lieu­tenant in the Army.

Af­ter his dis­charge from the Army in 1946 with the rank of cor­po­ral, Mr. Kone be­came co­man­ager in 1947 of the King Feed Co. in Tow­son. He be­gan work­ing as a stock­boy at Steb­bins An­der­son on York Road in Tow­son while at­tend­ing the Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity at night on the G.I. Bill.

He quickly worked his way up from sales­man to man­ager of the paint de­part­ment, pur­chas­ing agent and ul­ti­mately man­ager of both the Tow­son and Mon­dawmin shop­ping cen­ter lo­ca­tions.

He earned his bach­e­lor’s de­gree in mar­ket­ing in 1954 from Hop­kins, and three years later he and a part­ner opened Hard­ware Haven in the 1700 block of North­ern Parkway and con­tin­ued op­er­at­ing the business un­til 1965.

Mr. Kone, who was also known as Don, then joined the fac­ulty of City Col­lege, where he taught business man­age­ment and su­per­vi­sion, even­tu­ally be­com­ing a de­part­ment head. In 1970, he trans­ferred to North­ern High School and earned a master’s de­gree in lib­eral arts in 1971 from Hop­kins.

In 1975, he was ap­pointed as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal at North­ern, a po­si­tion he re­tained un­til re­tir­ing in 1987.

“He was of­fered prin­ci­pal­ship more than once but re­fused,” Ms. Ir­ish wrote. “He said, ‘Once you were prin­ci­pal you dealt as much with the pol­i­tics of schools as with the run­ning of a school.’ That did not ap­peal to him.”

“Many years af­ter his re­tire­ment, he would still be stopped by for­mer stu­dents who wanted to shake his hand,” Ms. Ir­ish wrote in a bi­o­graph­i­cal sketch of her grand­fa­ther. “One of his stu­dents once said, ‘Mr. Kone was so funny. He­was so nice and I knew he liked me, but I still ended up sus­pended!’ ”

She added: “That pretty much sums up my grand­fa­ther. He never shirked his re­spon­si­bil­ity, he didn’t shy away from what he thought was right, but he man­aged to do it with­out any mean­ness, with­out ever de­grad­ing the per­son in front of him. He­had tremen­dous courage and stood fast to his con­vic­tions, but he felt that the way he treated the per­son in front of him was just as important as what­ever else needed to be ac­com­plished.

“My grand­mother told me be­fore they were mar­ried that he had done his fight­ing and wasn’t going to fight any­more. And he kept his word un­til he passed away last week,” Ms. Ir­ish said.

“Don Kone was a kind and gen­tle man who al­ways had a sweet smile. We lived next door for about 40 years and never heard a cross word, as a re­sult of a prom­ise Don made to him­self in World War II to be grate­ful to be alive and never again fight,” said Rachelle Hol­lan­der, a Waverly neigh­bor.

“He gave us the best ad­vice on rais­ing teenagers — if you want them to do some­thing — find some­thing to give in re­turn. Which isn’t al­ways easy to do! He and his fam­ily are the best neigh­bors any­one could have,” she said.

The long­time res­i­dent of 34th Street en­joyed singing in church choirs at Waverly United Methodist Church and later at Idlewylde United Methodist Church, where was a mem­ber. He con­tin­ued singing un­til he was in his 80s and also played his gui­tar for pa­tients at the Veter­ans Ad­min­is­tra­tion Hos­pi­tal on Loch Raven Boule­vard.

“In re­tire­ment, he took art classes and en­joyed sculpt­ing and draw­ing,” Ms. Ir­ish said.

A me­mo­rial ser­vice for Mr. Kone will be held at 2 p.m. March 7 at St. Vin­cent de Paul Ro­man Catholic Church, 120 N. Front St., Bal­ti­more.

In ad­di­tion to his grand­daugh­ter, Mr. Kone is sur­vived by his wife of 68 years, the for­mer Sabra Sul­li­van; a son, Charles “Matt” Kone of Roland Park; two daugh­ters, Donna Dan­nals of Sparks and Sabra Wood­ward of Waverly; four grand­daugh­ters; and eight great-grand­chil­dren.

Wal­ter Kone was a long­time as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal at North­ern High School.

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