Yesterday's obituary of Levin H. Fooks stated incorrectly Mr. Fooks' rank in the city Fire Department. He was an acting lieutenant.
The Sun regrets the error.
Levin H. Fooks, a retired Baltimore City fire lieutenant, died Tuesday of pneumonia at Union Memorial Hospital. The Alto Road resident was 69.
FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION
He retired in 1976 from Hook and Ladder No. 6 at Hanover and Ostend streets. He had also been a shift commander and a tillerman on hook and ladder trucks, steering the trailer of the apparatus.
Known as "Ladd," he joined the department in 1955 when it had few black employees. He was trained at Engine 36 at Bentalou Street and Edmondson Avenue, which, at the time, served as the Fire Academy.
"Some of the firehouses were segregated in those days, but Ladd worked himself up through the ranks because he was a good man, low-key and very intelligent," said James Edwards, another of the early black firefighters in Baltimore, now retired.
Charles Thomas, another early black firefighter, said, "Ladd was one of the original members of the Social Association of Firefighters, which sought to improve working conditions for the black firefighter.
"It was quite rough in those days, and because there were a lot of discriminatory practices going on in the department, it really wasn't a pleasant place to be," said Mr. Thomas, who co-founded the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters and its local chapter, the Vulcan Blazers of Baltimore, both in 1970.
Mr. Thomas, now retired, described Mr. Fooks as "very easygoing, with a big smile."
Mr. Fooks' wife of 26 years, the former Viola Spradley, said: "He didn't let those hard times bother him. He just wanted to be a fireman. He was determined and stuck it out. He dealt with it and never held it against the other guys. He used to say, 'It was just the times.'
"One of his favorite stories from his firefighter days concerned the lady in Cherry Hill he was trying to save who insisted that he save her mink coat, too," she said.
Mr. Fooks, the youngest of nine children, was reared in West Baltimore and graduated from Douglass High School in 1943.
During World War II, he was a Navy gunner's mate in the Pacific. After the war, he worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad before joined the Fire Department.
He was a member of Baltimore Firefighters Local No. 734 and the Retired Fire Officers and Fire Fighters Association.
He was an usher at St. Bernardine's Roman Catholic Church, Edmondson Avenue and Mount Holly Street, where a Mass of Christian burial was to be offered at 11 a.m. today.
Other survivors include two sons, George H. Fooks and Kenneth C. Fooks, both of Baltimore; and two grandchildren.
Donations may be made to the American Heart Association, P.O. Box 17025, Baltimore 21203.