Bruno Joseph Perseghin Sr., who raised champion beagles and operated a popular fruit stand in eastern Baltimore County, died Thursday of a heart attack at his home in Dundalk. He was 80.
Mr. Perseghin, who once owned 20 beagles, will be pictured with one of his stud dogs, Chapel Hill B. Dalton, on the cover of the January issue of Hounds and Hunting, a national magazine based in Bradford, Pa.
The magazine, a networking publication for breeders, profiles stud dogs from around the country.
Mr. Perseghin never saw the cover.
"It's so sad, because he was really looking forward to seeing it," said Susan Foster, the fiancee of Mr. Perseghin's son, Sonny.
A native of North Carolina, Mr. Perseghin moved to Baltimore with his family when he was 8. He began breeding beagles in 1960 when he obtained a license to open a kennel, which he named Chapel Hill Beagles and operated from his home.
Mr. Perseghin and his son often traveled to beagle field trials, competitive events.
Mr. Perseghin's first field champion was a dog named Chapel Hill Backseat Bogart. Six of his dogs became national American Kennel Club field champions.
The dogs are judged on how well they trail a rabbit's scent, and
the best performers win ribbons, trophies and money, Ms. Foster said.
Beagle owners from throughout the country would fly their dogs to Baltimore to mate with Mr. Perseghin's champion dogs, she said.
Besides breeding beagles, Mr. Perseghin had operated Bruno's, a fruit and seafood stand in Dundalk, for the past 15 years.
Open year-round, the stand sells Christmas trees in December and pumpkins in October.
Mr. Perseghin's career began when he left school after sixth grade and took a job as a welder at Bethlehem Steel's Sparrows Point plant, where he worked more than 10 years.
After a suffering a leg injury in a motorcycle accident, he opened a shoe-making and dry-cleaning business in the 1950s on Holabird Avenue across from old Fort Holabird. His business was bolstered by a government contract with the military post.
When that property was sold, he relocated to Dundalk, where he ran the shoe-making business for 15 years.
Higher expenses and fewer customers forced him to close the store in the early 1970s.
For the next six years, he was a welding instructor at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.
He was a member of the Maryland Beagle Club in White Hall and the Patapsco Ridge Beagle Club near Annapolis.
Services were to be held at 9:30 a.m. today at Connelly Funeral Home, 300 Mace Ave., Essex.
Survivors include his wife of 55 years, the former Margaret Dunnigan; two daughters, Marlene Snyder and Deanna Hiltz, both of Baltimore; a son, Sonny Perseghin of Baltimore; two brothers, Frank and Joseph Perseghin, both of Dundalk; four sisters, Anna Levero, Virginia Wheaterholt, Veronica Perkins and Lena Gaicbeno, all of Dundalk; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Memorial donations may be made to the Maryland Diabetes Association, Baltimore Chapter, 3701 Old Court Road, Baltimore 21208.