David A. Pitts Sr., a retired city government employee, died Monday evening at Johns Hopkins Hospital of injuries he suffered when his car skidded on slush and crashed into a light pole in the 3400 block of Hillen Road. He was 80.
Mr. Pitts, foreman of a bridge maintenance crew, retired in 1976 after working for the city for many years. Earlier, he was a janitor at Western Electric Co. and a correctional officer at what was then the Baltimore City Jail.
He often held two or three jobs at a time so that his wife could stay home and care for their 12 children.
The couple had made their home for 26 years in the Flag House Courts public housing complex in East Baltimore.
In an article in The Sun in 1990, when the couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, Portia Pitts, his wife, said, "Every time I even mentioned getting a job he would say, 'You've got a job right here with these children.' He took care of us. There was always food on the table, and the children always had nice clothes to wear."
"To them, this was much more than an anniversary party," the Sun article said. "It was a tribute to their family's unity and endurance against the odds, and a celebration of honest living."
"His greatest joy was to look out and see his children," said a son, Nathan Pitts of Baltimore, a Sun editorial assistant. "He loved being with his family. He always wanted us to have it better than he did."
All of the Pitts children completed high school, and three are college graduates.
Mr. Pitts was born and reared in West Baltimore and attended city schools. He married Portia Jackson in 1940.
"He was one of the finest men in East Baltimore," Nathan Pitts said. "I never heard anyone say anything disrespectful about him. The respect we had for him as his children carried over to our friends. Some of them didn't have fathers, and he became their father. They even called him 'Daddy.' "
Mr. Pitts was a member of Trinity AME Church in East Baltimore for many years.
A wake will be held at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow at Trinity AME Church, 2130 E. Hoffman St., with funeral services at noon. Interment will be at Loudon Park Cemetery.
Other survivors include eight other sons, John T. Pitts and Gilbert L. Pitts, both of Las Vegas, James W. Pitts of Richmond, Va., and David A. Pitts Jr., Richard A. Pitts, Rodney W. Pitts, Gary A. Pitts and Aaron T. Pitts, all of Baltimore; three daughters, Carolyn D. Taylor, Naon T. Harris and Patricia A. Pitts-Franklin, all of Baltimore; two sisters, Lucine A. Young and Athlea M. Patterson, both of Baltimore; a brother-in-law, Randall K. Jackson of Baltimore; 40 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren.