W. James Price IV, father of Queen’s Cup Steeplechase co-chair Bill Price and a strong supporter of the Charlotte, N.C.-area race meet since its founding in 1996, died Tuesday in Towson, Md. He was 94.
During a long career in the brokerage industry, he became a partner and managing director of Alex. Brown & Sons, based in Baltimore.
A Baltimore native, he was educated at that city’s St. Paul’s School and enrolled in Virginia Military Institute in 1942. The following year, he enlisted in the Army and served as an infantryman in Europe. In the final months of the war, he was wounded twice behind German lines in the Hürtgen Forest in Belgium, once by a land mine and then by enemy gunfire while returning to Allied lines.
He was hospitalized for 16 months while recovering from his injuries and was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. He completed his college education at Yale University, class of 1949. Known for his wry humor, he said that he and the late President George H.W. Bush had two things in common: they both went to Yale after the war, and they both detested broccoli.
Immediately after college, he formed his own brokerage firm, Price & Co., which specialized in mutual funds, then beginning to grow in popularity, and over-the-counter stocks. He joined Alex. Brown in 1952 as head of its mutual funds department.
That year, he married the love of his life, Marjorie “Midge” Beard of Philadelphia, and their marriage spanned 62 years to her death in 2014.
At Alex. Brown, his work focused on investment banking and investment vehicles. He became a partner in 1959 and a managing director in 1984. He created two investment funds, the Alex. Brown Cash Reserve and the Flag Group of mutual funds, both of which he served as chairman.
He served on the National Association of Security Dealers (NASD) board and as its vice chairman in the 1960s. A Connecticut company, Bunker-Ramo, began developing terminals for financial companies and unveiled the outline of an electronic securities market.
Jim Price served on NASD’s automation committee, which recommended purchase of the concept for $20-million. NASDAQ began operation in 1971 under NASD ownership. Divested by NASD in 2000 and 2001, NASDAQ is now the world’s second-largest stock exchange with a market capitalization exceeding $11-billion.
He also served on the boards of CSX, PHH Corp. Eastmet, and Boca Research. He was an original panelist of Wall $treet Week, which first aired in 1970 on Maryland Public Television before going national on NPR.
Mr. Price retired from Alex. Brown in 1994 and devoted the remainder of his life to family, philanthropy, and golf. He and Midge relocated to Ocean Ridge, Fla., for most of the year, and he was a member of the Country Club of Florida, the Gulf Stream Golf Club, and the Ocean Club. In Baltimore, he was a member of the Elkridge Club and the Maryland Club.
His philanthropy focused on education. He was an emeritus visitor of Washington College on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and his St. Paul’s alma mater. In 2017, he received the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s Seymour Preston Award for his work for St. Paul’s. Given annually to one independent school trustee in the nation, the award recognizes an individual for exceptional commitment and leadership in developing support for his or her institution.
“Jim’s active leadership of capital campaigns at St. Paul’s were instrumental in providing Chapin Hall for the Middle School, Fisher Hall for the Upper School, the Middleton Athletic Center, the Ward Center for the Arts, and the Chapel,” said Headmaster David Faus. “His leadership has, quite literally, been transformative for our school.”
St. Paul’s officials noted that he was instrumental in building the school’s endowment. Of $44-million raised, school officials attributed one-third to Mr. Price and those he asked to contribute.
He also was known for his personal touch, both with his family and others. He was chairman of Sonitrol Security Systems (NC), and would visit its headquarters several times a year. He made a point of greeting every employee. “What they remembered was his smile and the twinkle in his eye,” said his son Bill Price, the company’s president. “He was a mentor of many people, including his children.”
Jim Price volunteered to assist Bill and Carrington Price when they developed the concept of the Queen’s Cup in the early 1990s. “Without him, there wouldn’t be a Queen’s Cup,” Bill Price said. He missed only two Queen’s Cups, the year that Midge died and this year, when his doctors advised against him traveling. The 2019 Queen’s Cup on April 27 will be run in memory of Jim and Midge Price.
In addition to Bill and Carrington, Mr. Price is survived by another son, Jonathan Robbins Price (wife Melissa) of Cockeysville, Md., and two daughters, Marjorie Price Whitlock (husband Michael) of Cashiers, N.C., and daughter Juliet Robbins Price of Boston; along with eight grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at the Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N Charles St., Baltimore, on Monday, January 14th at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1850 York Rd., Timonium, MD 21093. Interment will be private.