Md. Mourns Goldstein
By Amy Argetsinger
For years, the fake gold coins were Louis L. Goldstein's trademark. Everyone who shook the jovial Maryland comptroller's hand at the hundreds of chicken dinners and ribbon cuttings he attended every year got one.
Goldstein couldn't perform that duty yesterday. But as more than 2,500 mourners visited his casket at the State House in Annapolis, his longtime secretary handed each of them a Louis coin.
"We're carrying on his tradition," said Cathy Clevinger. Goldstein, who died Friday at age 85 while seeking his 11th term as comptroller, lay in state yesterday in the rotunda of the historic State House -- the only person in state history ever accorded that honor.
The memorial for the unusually beloved politician drew an eclectic crowd of mourners, representing the many constituencies Goldstein doggedly wooed and won over 60 years in Maryland politics. There were big-city activists, small-town businessmen and clerks from the depths of the Annapolis bureaucracy, many of whom honored the unbeatable "Mr. Maryland" as both a personal friend and a dependable public servant.
Two-year-old Erin Busch reached up to take a Goldstein coin from Clevinger. "Remember these?" her mother Cindy Busch asked. "Remember who used to give you these?" Busch, the wife of Del. Michael E. Busch (D-Annapolis), reflected sadly on the timing of Goldstein's July 3 death.
"If he had only waited one day," she said. "Didn't John Adams and Thomas Jefferson die on the Fourth of July? It would have been appropriate."
Indeed, Goldstein's enthusiasm for history was renowned. "He had an abiding love of the State House," said state archivist Edward C. Papenfuse. "He would actually give tours of the State House to constituents. He would point with pride to the spot where Washington resigned his commission."
Visitors lingered over a display highlighting Goldstein's political career -- memorabilia dating to 1939. "June 24, 1946!" exclaimed Danielle Mosley, pointing at a Calvert Journal advertisement from Goldstein's first race for state Senate.
"He has been a part of Maryland politics for, well, for all my life," said Mosley, an assistant state's attorney in Anne Arundel.
"Louis crossed party lines," said Jennifer Franks, the wife of a former Republican delegate from the Eastern Shore. "It didn't matter if you had the `R' or the `D' after your name, he always remembered you."
Janet Ballas, a former president of the American Heart Association of Montgomery County, marveled over Goldstein's eagerness to back various civic causes.
"You could call him and ask for his support, and he would always be there, when you knew he had a million other things to do," she said.
Ballas choked up. "He was a man who lived the dream."
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