Nicholas Bernard Mangione Sr., of Hunt Valley, died from complications of a stroke at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center on Sunday. He was 83.
Born in Baltimore Feb. 17, 1925, Mangione was the son of Sicilian immigrants Luigi and Maria Villano Mangione.
He attended parochial schools in Baltimore before joining the Navy to serve on the destroyer U.S.S. Caperton in the South Pacific in World War II, according to his son, Sam Mangione.
After returning from war, Mangione studied accounting at Baltimore Business College and served as an accountant for a masonry company. Through the bookkeeping job, Mangione’s interests in masonry, architecture and engineering were piqued, leading him to start his own business, Mangione Family Enterprises.
In addition to Turf Valley, the Towson-based company owns a chain of seven Lorien nursing homes, two Hilton hotels in Baltimore County, an excavating company in Howard, two AM talk radio stations and other holdings.
Mangione has involved all 10 of his children in managing his company and its many projects, Sam Mangione said.
“He was a determined businessman,” Sam Mangione said of his father. “He had vision and worked extremely hard to accomplish all he did.”
Dick Story, CEO of the county’s Economic Development Authority, described Mangione as a major player in the growth of the county.
“It’s cliché, but he leaves this place much better than he found it,” Story said. “He was the non-Columbia part of the growth of Howard County in the Jim Rouse days.”
Story also credits Mangione with helping to found Howard’s tourism council.
Regina Ford, who worked for Mangione for 30 years, described him as an old-fashioned businessman, who did business with a hand shake. “His word was his bond,” she said, adding that he knew his employees by name and asked about their families.
Charlie Feaga, a former County Council member who lives near Turf Valley, said he’s watched the progression of the development and is pleased with what he’s observed.
Feaga served on the council during much of Turf Valley’s growth beginning in 1986, the year after Mangione won the unique zoning designation of “planned golf course community.”
Just as Turf Valley has been the subject of public scrutiny and criticism, Mangione had his own criticisms of government, making known his frustration over lengthy development approval processes, Feaga said.
“He did object to the strong arm of government,” Feaga said. “He thought the government dragged their feet. He expected people to be straightforward and honest. He wanted a yes or a no.”
Feaga also noted Mangione’s patriotism. “He believed in private business and the right to work in the United States and the right to earn a dollar,” he said.
In addition to his wife of 58 years, Mary Cuba Mangione, Mangione is survived by his 10 children and their spouses, Louis and Kathy Mangione of Towson, John and Debbie Mangione of Towson, Nick Jr. and Danielle Mangione of Parkville, Pete and Tracy Mangione of Towson, Sam and Katie Mangione of Parkville, Rosemary and Joe Juras of Ellicott City, Linda and Robert Licata of Towson, Joanne and John Hock of Towson, Fran and Jerry O’Keefe of Towson, and Michele and Keith Collison of Towson; and 37 grandchildren.