Gerald Michael Armiger, decorated police officer

June 27, 1994|By Suzanne Loudermilk and Michael James | Suzanne Loudermilk and Michael James,Sun Staff Writers

Officer Gerald Michael Armiger, a decorated police officer widely known in many parts of the city's Southeastern District he served for 21 years, died Friday of a heart attack after ending his foot-patrol shift in Fells Point.

He turned 41 two days before his death.

The Baltimore native had returned to the Southeastern District station after his 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift to complete paperwork when he collapsed. Fellow officers performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation. He was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 5:15 p.m.

"He was the epitome of what community policing is all about," said Officer Robert Weinhold, a police spokesman and friend.

Said Nick Filipidis, owner of Jimmy's restaurant on South Broadway in Fells Point: "Michael is one of the finest policemen I've ever met. He was close to everyone he talked to down here."

Officer Armiger met the woman he would marry, Melanie Marne, while he was on foot patrol. She was the owner of Cafe Madeira, off Broadway, and he stopped in to check on the new business. The couple celebrated their second anniversary May 31.

Officer Armiger, who was called Mike by his friends and family, joined the city police department on April 29, 1973, after graduating from Mount St. Joseph High School in 1972 and attending Essex Community College. He had always been assigned to the Southeastern precinct on Eastern Avenue, Officer Weinhold said.

During his career, which included a stint in the narcotics division, Officer Armiger won many awards. This year, he received two policemen-of-the year awards, one from the Fells Point Food and Beverage Association and the other from the Polish Festival Committee.

Other honors included three bronze stars for bravery in the field, six commendation ribbons from the Police Department and, in 1983, he was named Policeman of the Year by The Sun.

In his current duties, the father of 9-month-old twins, Paul Michael and Rachel, worked to help Fells Point businessmen and residents in dealing with panhandlers, Officer Weinhold said. "Mike would take the time to talk to them and go the extra step to help others," he said.

Mr. Filipidis of Jimmy's remembered an instance in which Officer Armiger helped a homeless, elderly man in a wheelchair.

"He went to the city to find a foster place for him," Mr. Filipidissaid. "He spent almost a whole year trying to get this man taken care of and off the street."

In his free time, Officer Armiger, who grew up in Rosedale and lived in Forest Hill in Harford County, enjoyed working out at a gym, boating and fishing on the Chesapeake Bay, and collecting military guns.

But his real hobby was "those babies," said Sgt. Paul Miller, a neighbor and former partner on the narcotics squad. "His goal was the babies," Sergeant Miller said.

"He had pictures of the babies in his hat, on his desk, in his wallet," said Marlene Marne, his mother-in-law.

A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Lassahn Funeral Home, 11750 Belair Road, Kingsville. Interment will follow in Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, 200 E. Padonia Road, Cockeysville.

In addition to his wife and children, Officer Armiger is survived by his parents, Frances A. and George F. Armiger, of Rosedale; a sister, Michelle A. Armiger of Abingdon; a brother, Anthony G. Armiger of Glen Arm; and several aunts, uncles and cousins in the Baltimore area. His first marriage to the former Barbara Maloney ended in divorce.

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