Charles Harry Jones, longshoreman, boxer

July 01, 1994|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Sun Staff Writer

Charles Harry "Buck" Jones, who in a varied career was a longshoreman, police officer, boxer and wrestler, died Saturday of a heart attack at his Glen Burnie residence. He was 75.

Mr. Jones was a physically imposing man who stood 6 feet 1 inch, weighed 230 pounds and had a 52-inch chest. His neck and biceps measured 18 1/2 inches and his waist 36. He never smoked or drank, recalled his wife, the former Clare Cramer, and washed down steamed crabs with lemonade.

She said he exercised daily and his daily diet included cod liver oil pills, fruit juices and honey-laced tea.

Mr. Jones grew up on William Street in South Baltimore and attended Public School 33 and Southern High School.

He put on his first pair of boxing gloves in 1933 while stationed at Snow Hill with the Civilian Conservation Corps. He was 14 at the time but had told the CCC that he was 16.

He boxed in competitions between CCC camps and while in the corps boxed as an amateur at the Revonah Club, fighting in Baltimore, Orchard Beach and Salisbury. He turned professional 1941 when he fought Big John Patrick at the Coliseum on Monroe Street.

The next year, he enlisted in the Army and was assigned to Special Forces, teaching hand-to-hand combat to members of the 17th Airborne Division. He also boxed in the service, compiling a record of 17 wins, all by knockout, and three losses, and becoming heavyweight champion of several military bases. He was discharged in 1945 with the rank of sergeant.

After returning to Baltimore, he went to work on the docks as a longshoreman for about two years then joined the Baltimore Police Department.

While a policeman, he resumed his boxing career and also became a professional wrestler, gaining Maryland's heavyweight professional wrestling championship in 1952. He wrestled such contenders as Jesse James, Gorgeous George, Joe Finazzo and Pat Welsh. He ended his boxing and wrestling careers in the late 1950s and was inducted into the Maryland Boxing Hall of Fame in 1986.

While a policeman assigned to the Central District, he also was boxing instructor at the Police Academy.

It was while walking a beat in East Baltimore that he earned the nickname "Gentle Buck" because he never hit a felon with a nightstick. "I used my fists," he said in a 1969 Evening Sun interview.

In 1956, he quit the Police Department and returned to the docks, citing a growing family and the low pay of an officer.

He became active in the affairs of Local 829 of the International Longshoremen's Association and was an outspoken advocate for longshoremen and was protective of their image.

"The average person thinks the typical longshoreman is a no-good who belongs to the Mafia, gambles and drinks his money away and will kill you for a quarter," he said in the Evening Sun interview.

"Look at me. I'm a longshoreman. I don't drink, I don't smoke, I own my house and I never set foot in a pool hall. Am I a racketeer? Everything I got I owe to working on the docks."

He retired in 1982 as a labor dispatcher for the union and the Steamship Trade Association.

was a part-time Anne Arundel County deputy sheriff and crossbred Great Danes and Bull Mastiffs.

In addition to his wife, whom he married in 1944, survivors include three sons, Ronald C. Jones of Brooklyn Park, Charles H. Jones Jr. of Sarasota, Fla., and Donald G. Jones of Brooklyn; two daughters, Faith Stancliff of Brooklyn Park and Sharon A. Young of Glen Burnie; three brothers, Robert Jones of Covington, Va., Francis Jones of Berlin and Sherwood Jones of Baltimore; four sisters, Anna Moon of Pasadena, Esther Selway of Glen Burnie, Eileen Nolan of Baltimore and Kathleen Shives of Ocala, Fla.; 12 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association, P.O. Box 17025, Baltimore 21203.

Services were held Wednesday.

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