Richard “Dick” McJilton dies
Wednesday, 25 May 2011 13:53

Prominent businessman, community activist was 82

by Nicole Rodman

Funeral services will be held at Duda-Ruck Funeral Home on Thursday, May 26, at 10 a.m. for Richard W. “Dick” McJilton.
    The Dundalk resident, businessman and community activist, who was named Dundalk’s Citizen of the Year in 1984, died on May 23 at the age of 82.
    A lifelong resident of the Greater Dundalk area, McJilton moved to Sparrows Point around age 11, living in his parents’ E Street home until joining the military.
    A member of the Sparrows Point High School football team during his years in school, he played in the 1944 inaugural Steel Bowl football game between Sparrows Point and Dundalk high schools. He graduated from Sparrows Point in 1946.
    Following high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving as a squad leader and military policeman during the occupation of Japan following World War II.
    After being honorably discharged, he attended Western Maryland College as well as the University of Baltimore.
    His father, S. Walter McJilton, who predeceased him, worked for 28 years in the Bethlehem Steel Tin Mill machine shop before establishing McJilton Insurance Service, part of the Nationwide Insurance Companies.
    Recently recognized for six decades of service as a Nationwide Insurance agent (see item on page 13), McJilton operated the business with family members, including his wife, Gloria, who works as an associate agent and vice president of McJilton Associates, Inc.
    Over  six decades, McJilton dedicated himself to his hometown, serving in many local organizations, including the Dundalk Jaycees, where he was charter president for a time. He later served as president of the Maryland Jaycees as well as vice president of the U.S. Jaycees.
    According to fellow Dundalk Jaycees member Tom Toporovich, the community has lost an important voice.
    “We’ve lost one of the leading lights of our community, who has been a moving force for over 50 years,” Toporovich said of McJilton on Monday.
    “It would take a whole issue of the newspaper to list all of the positions of responsibility that Dick held in the community,” he continued.
    During his long career of activism in Dundalk, McJilton also served terms as president of the Dundalk Chamber of Commerce, The Rotary Club of Dundalk and The Dundalk Association of Business.             He also held the position of vice president of the Dundalk Concert Association for a time.
    McJilton was also a member of the Baltimore County Planning Board, the St. Rita Home-School Association, the Dundalk-Patapsco Neck Historical Society and the Dundalk Farms Improvement Association.
    He later served as a board member of the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation and the Attorney’s Grievance Commission of Maryland.
    In 1961, McJilton was appointed by then-Gov. J. Millard Tawes to be  vice chair of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee to Study the Need for a General Hospital in the Dundalk Area. As a result of the study, Franklin Square Hospital Center was constructed in eastern Baltimore County. 
    Repeatedly recognized for his efforts, McJilton was named the Optimist Club of Dundalk’s Citizen of the Year in 1984.
    In addition to his involvement in community organizations, McJilton was active in coaching youth soccer and baseball, helping to form the Dundalk Express Soccer Club, and was inducted into the Greater Dundalk Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.
    “Dick is more of a benefactor of sports in the area,” then-Hall of Fame president Joe Cristy noted in an article that ran in the November 16, 2000, issue of The Eagle.
    “He’s been a big asset to the rich sports tradition of the whole Dundalk area,” Cristy recalled at the time.
    McJilton later served as a board member of the Dundalk Sports Hall of Fame.
    A longtime member of the Dundalk Chamber of Commerce, McJilton was the recipient of the Chamber’s first Business Recognition Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
    As an avid proponent of higher education, McJilton served as the first president of the Dundalk Community College Foundation. He was later appointed to the CCBC Board of Trustees in 2001.
    He held that post until recent health problems led to his retirement from the board. His wife Gloria was recently named to take his place.
    Also in 2001, McJilton worked with the Urban Design Assistance Team which introduced a multi-year revitalization plan still being implemented throughout the area.
    A tireless advocate for residents of Dundalk, Sparrows Point and Edgemere, in 2004 McJilton worked to prevent a private prison management firm from building a maximum-security federal prison in the Dundalk area.
    As a 2004 article in The Eagle noted, McJilton was always proud that he remained in Dundalk throughout his life, building a business and raising a family in his beloved hometown.
    A force for good in the community, McJilton had many friends across the area, including Heritage Association of Dundalk president Joe Falbo.
    “It was an honor to be considered his friend,” Falbo said on Monday. “He was a class act, without a doubt. He will be missed.”
    In addition to myriad other positions, McJilton was a member of  the Dundalk Memorial VFW Post 6694 and the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.
    Loved ones recall that he enjoyed spending time with friends and family and traveling to his home in Ocean City.
    McJilton is survived by his wife of 35 years, the former Gloria K. Bangert, children Michael R. McJilton, Ryan W. McJilton, Nancy J. Mackin and Holly A. McJilton, brother W. Norman McJilton and two grandchildren.
    He was predeceased by son Richard W. McJilton Jr. and brother Marvin A. McJilton.
    Following the scheduled services at Duda-Ruck, he will be interred at Oak Lawn Cemetery.
    Memorial contributions may be made to the Community College of Baltimore County Foundation, 7200 Sollers Point Road, Dundalk, MD 21222 or to the American Cancer Society, 8219 Town Center Drive, Nottingham, MD 21236.