James B. Laubheimer
James Laubheimer was born at home in Govans in 1921 and raised in Towson and Lutherville. He was a 1938 graduate of Towson High School. While working at Maryland Casualty Co., he attended night law school at the University of Baltimore.
His interest in art began early. He was the youngest child, and to keep him quiet his parents gave him paper and pencils so he could draw.
After leaving law school in 1942, Mr. Laubheimer enlisted in the Army's 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion - part of the "Ghost Army of World War II" - whose role was to deceive German troops with rubber and wooden airplanes, artillery, tanks and jeeps. He served with a number of noted artists, including Ray Harford, who drew the comic strip Captain Marvel, and Bill Blass, who later became a popular clothing designer.
Laubheimer earned five Bronze Stars and attained the rank of sergeant. He was injured in an artillery attack that partially blinded him in one eye.
After the war, he returned to Baltimore and resumed his law school career while working as a courier during the day, delivering large envelopes with legal documents to judges' chambers.
The blank envelopes and long rides on the streetcar proved irresistible, as he sketched scenes along the way directly on the envelope. Seeing the drawings, one judge asked him, 'Son, why are you in law school?' He immediately called the Maryland Institute College of Art, where his talents were quickly realized.
While attending the institute, he met and fell in love with a fellow art student, the former Suzanne Coffman, whom he married in 1947.
After earning his bachelor's degree in art in 1950, he began his teaching career at Dundalk High School, where he remained until being promoted to supervisor of secondary art in 1965.
In addition to his regular work, he taught summer and Saturday classes at MICA, where he earned a master's degree and headed its evening school from 1959 to 1964.
In 1968, he was promoted to coordinator of art for Baltimore County public schools, a position he held until retiring in 1984.
He painted in oil, watercolor, pastels, and did drawings and carvings.
No person or institution was immune from Mr. Laubheimer's caricatures, which sprang from a fast eye and hand that were propelled by an easygoing, yet quick, wit.
Laubheimer's own artwork, rendered in watercolors, embraced Baltimore rowhouses and busy street scenes, the Chesapeake Bay and its boats, as well as the barns and rolling countryside of rural Maryland.
James Laubheimer died of pneumonia Feb. 27, 2005 at Good Samaritan Hospital, Baltimore..