Thomas A. Todd, 90, Philly architect and painter

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Oct. 27, for Thomas Abbott Todd, 90, formerly of Philadelphia, an architect and painter, who died Thursday, June 14, of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at Newfield House, a senior facility in Plymouth, Mass.

For much of his life, Mr. Todd lived on McCallum Street in West Mount Airy, in a house he designed and had built. He moved to Rhode Island in 1991, and since 2008 had resided in Duxbury, Mass.

Camera icon Courtesy of the family
The home Thomas A. Todd designed and had built for his family on McCallum Street in West Mount Airy.

Over a 37-year career starting in 1954, he developed a reputation as a noted architect, with 65 projects here and abroad. Among his achievements were a master plan for the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, plans for Liberty Place in Center City, and renovation plans for mansions in Society Hill and on Rittenhouse Square.

He also developed a master plan for Abuja, the capital of Nigeria.

Born in North Stonington, Conn., he moved with his family to Wyncote at an early age. Mr. Todd was a 1946 graduate of Germantown Friends School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in art history from Haverford College in 1950 and graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania with a master’s degree in city planning in 1959.

Mr. Todd’s first job was on the staff of the City Planning Commission. He then became a planner and designer in Penn’s Planning Office before co-founding Grant & Todd, a design company. In 1963, he joined the Philadelphia architectural firm Wallace-McHarg Associates, where he was soon made partner. The firm is now Wallace, Roberts & Todd (WRT).

“The underlying beliefs and integrated practice that Tom helped shape at WRT hold great value for the professionals and clients drawn to the firm,” the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Philadelphia Chapter said in an online post.

The Wallace-McHarg firm in 1963 got the contract to plan Baltimore’s Inner Harbor development. Over the next 25 years, Mr. Todd and his partners designed all the piers and promenades, and set design controls for all developers involved in the project, the Baltimore Sun reported. Once finished, the project won many awards.

Mr. Todd was named a fellow of the AIA in 1980.  In 1991, he moved to Jamestown, R.I., where he did consulting.

Mr. Todd met Carol Roberts when both lived in a co-op in Powelton Village.  They were married in a Quaker meeting house in 1956.

One of Mr. Todd’s favorite activities was planning adventurous vacations. The family took whitewater trips down the Colorado River, floated through the Grand Canyon in wooden boats, camped in Canada, explored Viking digs in Newfoundland, trekked through Europe, and cruised to Alaska.

“It was a blast,” said his son, Jonathan “Chris” Todd.

As a young man, Mr. Todd developed a passion for art that was kindled by his father, James Arnold Todd, a noted painter and sculptor. Mr. Todd became a painter in his own right, completing many oils, watercolors, and charcoal and pencil sketches.

He showed his work at the Newport Art Museum in Rhode Island and the Independence Seaport Museum. His oil painting of Boathouse Row hangs in the boathouse of the University Barge Club along the Schuylkill.

Mr. Todd was so fascinated by maritime history that he became a model-ship builder. His model of the frigate Constellation is on display at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I.

“He enjoyed a rich life and was constantly smiling and laughing,” his son said. “He loved quoting historical figures and translating common phrases into Latin.  He will be missed.”

Mr. Todd’s wife died in 2014. In addition to his son, he is survived by daughters Suzannah Elizabeth Arnold Todd Waters and Cassandra Roberts Todd; four grandchildren; and a sister.

The memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. at Germantown Friends Meeting, 47 W. Coulter St. Burial is private.

Donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association via https://www.alz.org/.