Harry A. Deems, Home delivery manager

March 21, 1993

Harry A. Deems, who retired as home delivery manager of the News American in 1975, died March 7 of a ruptured aneurysm at his home in Northeast Baltimore. He was 82.

Mr. Deems began his newspaper career in 1933 in the circulation department of the Baltimore News-Post. When the paper closed, he moved to the News American, where he worked as home delivery manager for 30 years.

He did not miss a day of work in his 42-year career.

Mr. Deems earned a reputation with young newspaper carriers as a tough boss.

Mr. Deems gave Russell Baker -- a former Baltimore Sun reporter and now a New York Times columnist -- his first job in journalism in 1937 at age 12 at the Baltimore News-Post. He also was the first to show the future Pulitzer Prize winner the inside of a newsroom.

Mr. Baker devoted a chapter to Mr. Deems in his 1989 book "ThGood Times," which chronicles the beginning of his journalism career.

"Deems was boss of a group of boys who worked home deliverroutes for the Baltimore News-Post. . . Deems was short and plump and had curly brown hair. He owned a car and a light gray suit and always wore a necktie and white shirt," Mr. Baker wrote.

He wrote that Mr. Deems made the job tough for the boys by continuing to increase the number of newspapers they had to sell. This forced the boys to sell the papers or pay for them, Mr. Baker wrote.

Mr. Deems told the boys they were "the backbone of the business," and that if they worked hard they could advance at the paper.

Deems might be a slave driver, but he was doing it for my own good, and I ought to be grateful. . . he was the first newspaperman I ever knew, and I wanted him to be the real thing. Hard as nails," Mr. Baker wrote.

Mr. Deems was a Baltimore native and a member of the Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church at 4605 Belair Road.

The funeral was held March 11 at Miller Funeral Home. Memorial services were to be conducted at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. today at the Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church.

He is survived by his wife of 57 1/2 years, the former Adele Sander, and two nephews, W. Robert and Charles Lee Browning of Baltimore.

The family suggested contributions may be made to the Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church.

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