Orlando Ridout
Orlando Ridout
  • August 13, 1922 - August 25, 2017
  • Annapolis, Maryland

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Orlando Ridout IV of Annapolis died at age 95 on August 25, 2017. A lifelong resident of St. Margaret’s, he was born August 13, 1922, the son of Orlando Ridout III and Mary McKinsey Ridout.

He was known and loved for his deep knowledge about the history of the area and its residents throughout the centuries. His occasional writings about local history were treasured by many, with the most enjoyable times spent sitting on his front porch, listening to his stories.

Lanny graduated from Annapolis High School in 1939 and received a bachelor’s degree from University of Maryland in 1943. He served three years as a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army, with postings in Saipan, Okinawa and in post-treaty Korea. His most enduring memory of the war was a leave in Shanghai that sparked his interest in Asian antiques.

Returning from the war in 1946, he married Elisabeth Lawton and returned to work on the family farm. Even as a teenager he had a deep interest in historic houses and local history, making notes of family stories and copying antique documents wherever he found them. At age 17 he was a member of the Company for Restoration of Colonial Annapolis. As he developed a career in architectural history, he played a pivotal role in launching the preservation movement in the state of Maryland. Throughout his life he was a steadfast advocate for the past and its protection. He was a founding member of Historic Annapolis, serving as its Director of Research. In 1961 he was appointed the first Director of the Maryland Historical Trust. He also served as Maryland’s first State Historic Preservation Officer. Concurrently with his career as a historian, he pursued his interest in local affairs and served three terms as a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly, from 1950 to 1962.

Over the years he served on numerous committees, including the Committee for the Restoration of St. Mary’s City, the Londontown Publick House Commission, the Anne Arundel County Board of Education, and the Anne Arundel County Public Library Association. He consulted on many restoration projects in Annapolis and throughout Maryland. After retirement in 1975 he was appointed Chairman of the Governor’s Consulting Committee for nominating historical sites to the National Register.

His 1978 master’s thesis at University of Maryland resulted in the book “Building the James Brice House” and has led to the current restoration project on that house in Annapolis. Other publications include “The Indian Queen” in the Winterthur Portfolio and a chapter on “Historic Preservation” appearing in a publication of the National Trust. Most treasured by locals is a chapter on the history of the Broadneck peninsula that appeared in a locally published anthology in 1976.

Within a few years of their marriage, he and Betty built a home on the shore of Whitehall Creek where they raised two children. They also entertained many a friend and far flung Ridout relative. In retirement they traveled widely in the US and Europe, and particularly enjoyed exploring Ridout family history with their English friend Bill Ridout.

Lanny was predeceased by his wife of 65 years, Betty, and his son, Orlando Ridout V. He is survived by his daughter Mollie Ridout (Steve Brown), his daughter-in-law Barbara Cooper and his granddaughters, Rebecca Ridout (Susan Fogg), Rachel Ridout and Anna Brown.

A service will be held on Saturday, September 9 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Margaret’s Church, 1601 Pleasant Plains Road, Annapolis MD 21409. Interment will be private at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Lanny’s name to the Vernacular Architecture Forum, Orlando Ridout Fieldwork Fellowships, c/o Lisa Davidson, Treasurer, 3907 Madison St., Hyattsville MD 20781. Arrangements are by John M. Taylor Funeral Home, condolences may be made at www.johnmtaylorfuneralhome.com