QUEENSTOWN - Prominent local developer and philanthropist Mareen D. Waterman died of cancer on Thursday, April 28. He was 82.
At the time of his death, he was head of Waterman Realty on Kent Island, a firm that he founded in 1967. He worked there with his son Barry Waterman, daughter-in-law Diana Waterman and grandson Kevin Waterman.
"He took great pride in creating communities and homes for Queen Anne's County residents," and was the developer of Overlook, Wye Knot, Queen Anne Woods, Anchorage, Long Creek Farm and smaller communities, said Barry Waterman. "He hired local excavators, engineers, plumbers, etc., and then sold lots to Queen Anne's County builders to build homes on."
At the time of his death, the Waterman Family Limited Partnership was in the process of planning the development of the Wheatlands property in Queenstown.
Mareen Waterman was born in Guam, where his father was serving as a Marine officer. He studied at Washington College and had a landscaping and tree removal business before being drafted for a two-year period in the Army, his son said. He then became a bookkeeper with Grenadier Realty in Annapolis, and later bought the business around 1959 or 1960.
According to Barry Waterman, he created subdivisions and built about 500 homes in the Annapolis area before moving to Queenstown in 1969. He opened a branch office of Grenadier Realty on Kent Island and a few years later closed the Annapolis office to concentrate on Queen Anne's County.
He was active in a number of real estate organizations over the years and served as president of the local Board of Realtors and Homebuilders, was chairman of Business Queen Anne's and the Queen Anne's County Chamber of Commerce, and served on committees of the State Association of Realtors.
Barry Waterman said his father was active in a number of local civic organizations, and spent many years on the Queen Anne's County Republican Central Committee. In 1986, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River.
"What a good man," said Linda Friday, president of the Queen Anne's County Chamber of Commerce, who had known him for many years. "He was a humble, quiet gentleman who was active in the Chamber." She said he was man of integrity and knowledge.
"If you had a question about developing, he had an answer," Friday said, adding that Waterman was a "huge contributor to this community" and was very generous. "This is a huge loss to Queen Anne's County," she said.
Less than a week before he died, Waterman was presented with the Bay Area Association of Realtors' Lifetime Achievement Award for those with 40 or more years in the business. Association Executive Director Bob Friday said the presentation was made to Waterman at his home on Friday, April 22.
"He was a pretty unassuming guy and said 'I've done what I've done, not thinking about awards,'" Friday said, adding that Waterman said the award meant a great deal to him.
Sandra Early of Sandra's Office Support remembers first meeting Waterman over 20 years ago when she worked for the Chamber of Commerce.
"Mr. Waterman was a soft spoken man and was a man of few words," she said in a Facebook posting. "When he spoke, I made sure to listen as he was knowledgeable, and I knew if he was talking, it was important."
Early said Waterman was a friend and "a wonderful man" that "I will miss dearly."
"Bob has done so much for the citizens of this county. People have no idea," said Mike Zimmer, president of Bay State Insurance Agency. Bob was the name by which many of his colleagues knew him, Zimmer said. He went on to say that Waterman was one of five men who had a significant impact on him and his career.
"He was a very kind person who would help anyone who asked him. He gave millions away in time and money," Zimmer said.
Barry Waterman said his father attended many charity events in the county and made contributions of time and money to "many causes beyond political and industry causes." He noted that he was the head of the fundraising committee for the free standing emergency facility now known as the University of Maryland Shore Emergency Center at Queenstown.
"I always knew he was a great person who always did what was right regardless of its impact on him personally," Barry Waterman said.
Mareen Waterman died on his 60th wedding anniversary and is survived by his wife Marian, son Barry, son Reen Waterman, daughters Jeanne Lancaster and Joanna Waterman, eight grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.