Father of Brother Jim Pianowski
Stanley Pianowski, department store buyer and longtime Baltimore County Liquor Board administrator, dies
Stanley Pianowski, a department store buyer and longtime Baltimore County Liquor Board member, died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease May 28 at his Oak Crest retirement community home in Parkville. The former Dundalk resident was 87.
“First off, Stan and his wife, Marlene, were responsible for my career as county executive and all that followed in my legislative world. They were a team,” Donald P. Hutchinson, Baltimore County executive from 1978 to 1986, said.
“I was 32 when I ran for county executive in 1978, and I would never have had my legislative career that followed had I lost that election,” Mr. Hutchinson said. “My career was a result of that election and they were responsible for it.”
Dennis F. Rasmussen succeeded Mr. Hutchinson as county executive in 1986.
“Stan was like most east-side politicians who became committed to the cause and he was in that category,” Mr. Rasmussen, no relation to this reporter, said. “And when those east-side people are committed to a cause, they’re committed. I enjoyed working with Stan, who always wanted to help, sensed what was needed and did it.”
Stanley Pianowski, son of Stanley James Pianowski, a longshore worker, and Jenny Pianowski, a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and lived in Canton until moving to north of Patterson Park on Rose Street.
He graduated in 1953 from Patterson Park High School in 1954 and began his retail career at department store Stewart & Co., while studying marketing and business management at the University of Baltimore.
He left in 1963 for a similar position at Topps Discount Store, and returned to Stewart’s four years later, where he remained until 1983 when the store closed.
Mr. Pianowski and his wife, the former Marlene Nemec, were longtime Dundalk residents, where they raised four children. He was active in civic affairs and Democratic politics.
Mr. Pianowski was president of the West Inverness Recreation Council and a founding member of the West Inverness Improvement Association.
In 1978, Mr. Pianowski became a charter member and president of the New 7th District Democratic Club.
Through his activities with the club, he met Mr. Hutchinson, who was running for Baltimore County executive.
“When I announced my candidacy Stan introduced himself to me,” Mr. Hutchinson recalled. I knew it was going to be a tough Democratic primary and I knew I had to win Dundalk, so Stan and Marlene became my planners and supporters.”
Mr. Hutchinson said with its blue-collar background and industries such as Bethlehem Steel, General Motors and the Glenn L. Martin Co., where residents worked, Dundalk was “Highlandtown with grass. They were the same people and culture.”
Mr. Pianowski enlisted family members to help with coordinating door-to-door canvassing and fundraising events that culminated in Mr. Hutchinson being elected in 1978.
“They introduced me to their family and friends who invited me into their homes, where I spoke about my vision for Baltimore County,” Mr. Hutchinson said.
Once when Mr. Hutchinson and Mr. Pianowski were on the campaign trail, they encountered a man who was on a ladder washing windows in West Inverness.
Mr. Hutchinson appointed Mr. Pianowski to the Baltimore County Liquor Board in 1979, and in 1983, he became the board’s full-time administrator after he retired from Stewart’s.
Mr. Pianowski held the position for nearly two decades, with a one-year departure in 1993, when Roger B. Hayden, a Republican, was county executive.
He was reappointed to the board as administrator in 1994 by Charles A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger III, a Democrat, who succeeded Mr. Hayden as county executive.
“When he was named administrator, there was no jealousy or issues from his fellow board members, who knew he was the right man for the job, and he held it for nearly two decades,” Mr. Hutchinson said.
“My opponents had been there earlier in the day and we were late. The man looked down and said, ‘What is this? National Crooks Day?’ and Stan, who had a subtle sense of humor, said, ‘I think we better skip this house,’” Mr. Hutchinson said.
“Stan was without temperament, easygoing and quiet, but when he spoke, he let you know what he had to say,” Mr. Hutchinson said. “He was direct and candid.”
He also participated in a number of successful campaigns, including those of Mr. Rasmussen for county executive; state Sen. John S. Arnick; and County Council member Dale Volz.
Mr. Pianowski was a longtime active communicant of Our Lady of Hope Roman Catholic Church in Dundalk, where he and his wife enjoyed church-sponsored bus trips.
In 1998, he and his wife moved to Loveton Farms in Hunt Valley, and, for the past 11 months, both resided at Oak Crest.
In addition to politics, he enjoyed traveling and gardening.
A funeral Mass was offered Tuesday at the Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier in Hunt Valley.
In addition to his wife of 67 years, Mr. Pianowski is survived by three sons, Michael S. Pianowski of Ocean City, Steve R. Pianowski of Charlotte, North Carolina, and James J. Pianowski of Naples, Florida; a daughter, Linda P. Frederick of Phoenix in Baltimore County; six grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.