Paul N. Baker, rail ticket agent

January 15, 1995|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Sun Staff Writer

Paul N. Baker, who worked 28 years as a railroad ticket agent and moonlighted as a cashier at Maryland's horse racing tracks, died Wednesday of a stroke at the Bon Secours Extended Care Facility in Ellicott City. He was 85.

Mr. Baker joined Pennsylvania Railroad in 1943 and retired in 1974 from Amtrak, which took over inter-city rail passenger service in 1971.

"He had two jobs," said his son, Paul M. Baker of Cockeysville. "He'd work the night shift at the [train] station and by day was a cashier at the $100 window at Maryland's race tracks, where in three decades of work he never saw or bet on a horse race. He was very conservative and not a horse racing type of person."

Don Peterson, supervisor of customer services at Amtrak's North Charles Street station and an acquaintance of Mr. Baker's for 30 years, called him "the typical old-time railroad ticket agent with his octagon glasses and eye shade."

He was known for being able to recall the price of accommodations and rail fares to points throughout the Pennsylvania system.

"My father always said that the professional athletes were hard to handle because most of them were a bunch of wise guys -- especially the Knicks and the Yankees, who were always impatient and rambunctious when they came to the ticket window," said the son.

The senior Mr. Baker was a past officer of the Baltimore Passenger Association, an organization of railroad, steamship, bus and airline ticket agents, and enjoyed attending and photographing their annual events.

The son of Italian immigrants named Mugavero, who were bakers, he was born and reared on Fawn Street in Little Italy. He later changed his name from Mugavero to Baker.

He attended St. Leo's Parochial School and was a graduate of Polytechnic Institute. During the Depression he worked odd jobs and was a surveyor for the old State Roads Commission.

He lived on Briarclift Road in West Baltimore before moving to the Heartlands retirement community in Ellicott City.

In 1933, he and Mary Lolli were married. She died in 1990.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered yesterday at St. Joseph Monastery Church, 251 S. Morley St., Baltimore.

Other survivors include a daughter, Jeannette Rembach of Harrison, N.Y.; a brother, Marion Mugavero; three sisters, Josephine Mugavero, Helen Motto, and Mamie Prouty, all of Baltimore; and three grandsons.

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