Funeral Mass for Former Economic Matters Committee Vice Chair Set for Saturday

The death earlier this year of the late Del. Joseph V. Lutz (D-Harford) got no publicity. There will be a Funeral Mass Saturday. Family photo.

A Funeral Mass for Joseph V. Lutz, a former two-term member of the Maryland House of Delegates representing Harford County, will be offered 10 a.m., Saturday, at St. Margaret Roman Catholic Church, 141 Hickory Ave., Bel Air.

Lutz, a Democrat who served as vice-chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee, died July 9 at Hummingbird Manor Assisted Living in Aberdeen of complications from early-onset dementia, which he battled for years. He was 72 and had resided in Bel Air until about a year-and-a-half ago, when he moved to the Aberdeen facility.

“Joe was a great guy to serve with and cared a lot about his constituents,” said William A. Clark, a former two-term member of the House who served with Lutz from Harford County’s District 35A.

“Even though we represented opposing parties from District 35A, in eight years we never had a serious disagreement and always covered for each other without regard to partisanship,” said Clark, who was twice elected as a Republican before switching his party affiliation to Democrat in his second term.

Joseph Victor Lutz was born in Baltimore to Jerome T. Lutz Sr., founder of Lutz Lumber and Supply Co., and the former Anastasia R. Morningstar, a secretary and homemaker. He was reared in the Gardenville neighborhood of Northeast Baltimore and attended the St. Anthony of Padua parochial school there.

Lutz graduated from Calvert Hall College high school in 1966 and went on to what is now Towson University, earning a bachelor’s degree in education in 1970. During much of that time, he worked at the family-owned lumber supply company on Frankford Avenue in Gardenville.

Upon graduating college, he took a position as a history teacher in the Baltimore City Public School System, working at Northern High School from 1970 to 1979. He also worked part-time as a salesman for Grempler Realty from 1974 to 1982.

Lutz served in Maryland Army National Guard from 1970 to 1973 and was a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve for six years afterwards.

He earned a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1979 ― the same year he took a position as account manager with the Digital Equipment Corp., a national company born early in the evolution of the computer industry.

Lutz was first elected to the Maryland General Assembly in 1982, winning one of two seats in the then-newly created District 35A, primarily northern Harford County around and beyond Bel Air. He was re-elected in 1986.

At the start of his second term, House Speaker R. Clayton Mitchell Jr. (D-Kent) elevated Lutz to leadership, appointing him vice chairman of the Economic Matters Committee, serving as No. 2 to Del. Casper R. Taylor Jr. (D-Allegany), who was promoted to chairman from vice-chair. Taylor would later go on to be elected House speaker.

Lutz also chaired three subcommittees while on Economic Matters ― banking, consumer protection and workers’ compensation.

Jennifer M. Lutz, who was just 7 when her father was first elected, recalled going to the Maryland State House as a child and sitting in Lutz’s seat on the floor of the House of Delegates, and eating at Annapolis landmarks such as Fran O’Brien’s and Chick & Ruth’s.

“I have great memories of me and my girlfriends being the ‘Lutzettes,’ donning our ‘Lutz Listens’ T-shirts at Forest Hill Elementary School, or riding in the Bel Air Fourth of July parade with my Dad, with my brother and his friends walking behind the convertible,” she wrote in an e-mail.

She fondly recalled the “Lutz Listens” campaign billboards in the county, stenciling placards and lawn signs for her father’s first race, door-knocking armed with pamphlets, and the long Election Days, handing out campaign literature at the polls and waiting for the final results that night.

Lutz lost his re-election bid in 1990 and failed to reclaim his seat again in 1994.

After leaving the General Assembly, Lutz continued as an account manager for information technology companies before retiring in 2008.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by a son, Joseph P. Lutz, of New Holland, Pa.; a brother, Walter F. Lutz of Towson; and three granddaughters, Julia and Han Lutz, and Riley Wiglesworth.

A marriage to the former Joyce Marie Petr ended in divorce.

[email protected]

William F. Zorzi
Bill Zorzi was a Baltimore Sun reporter and editor for nearly 20 years, focusing on government and politics. An Annapolis bureau veteran, he wrote a weekly column, “The Political Game” for the paper.Zorzi and another former Sun reporter, David Simon, are longtime collaborators on acclaimed television projects, including the HBO series, “The Wire,” and the HBO miniseries “Show Me a Hero,” which dealt with an explosive housing desegregation case in Yonkers, NY.