Harold G. Schwab Sr., retired fire captain

January 18, 1995|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Sun Staff Writer

Harold G. Schwab Sr., a retired captain in the Baltimore Fire Department who was known for his kindness to the children who visited the firehouse where he was assigned, died Sunday of undetermined causes at St. Agnes Hospital. He was 87.

The West Baltimore resident retired in 1972 as captain of Engine Company 47 in Morrell Park after a 37-year career with the Fire Department.

"He was a decent man who took care of his men," said Ronald W. Ferger, a pump operator with Engine Company 47.

"It was his life, and he loved it," said his son, Harold G. Schwab Jr. of Pasadena. "He worked his way up from the bottom, and when he started they used to work 24-hour shifts. . . . He really enjoyed his work."

Captain Schwab was reared on Frederick Avenue in Southwest Baltimore. He was a 1924 graduate of the Polytechnic Institute and after graduation went to work in the family business, John Schwab & Sons Harness Maker, on Frederick Avenue near Pulaski Street.

"As automobiles became more popular, they later added auto accessories," said his brother, Harry F. Schwab of Catonsville. "But when the Depression hit, business got real bad so Hal filed an application with the Fire Department and with the post office to become a railway mail clerk. He said, 'I'll take the first one that comes along,' and that was the Fire Department job.

"He . . . liked kids coming to the firehouse to visit. He'd give them tours of the station, and let them ring the bell and climb all over the apparatus."

He was a charter member of the Rexton Athletic Club, to which he belonged for more than 50 years, and a member of the Violetville Senior Citizens Club.

His wife, the former Blanche Roeth, whom he married in 1929, died in 1987.

Services were set for 10 a.m. today at the G. Truman Schwab Funeral Home of Charing Cross, 5151 Baltimore National Pike.

Other survivors include his stepmother, Thelma Schwab of Catonsville; three grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

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