George L. Stanley always had an adventurous streak. In his mid-teens, he left home to join the merchant marine. As a young man, he saved his money to travel around the world. And as a married man, he often took exotic trips -- most without his wife.
Flying was usually the last mode of transportation chosen by Mr. Stanley, 93, who died Saturday of heart failure at his Darley Avenue home in East Baltimore. Most of his excursions were by bus, train or boat.
After he made a brief attempt at driving a car, relatives and friends decided he shouldn't be behind the wheel of an automobile.
"It was best for everyone that he wasn't on the road," said his son, John M. Stanley of Baltimore. "I always worried about how many people he might kill on the way over to my house."
Mr. Stanley drove for only two years -- from 1969 to 1971 -- and owned only one car, a 1966 Caprice, but his speed and daring on the road earned him the nickname "Hot Wheels Stanley." His wife, the former Violet Jackson, refused to ride with him.
A lifelong East Baltimore resident and one of 14 children, Mr. Stanley graduated from the old Colored High School at Dolphin Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in 1922 and later attended the former Hampton Institute in Virginia.
When he was 16, before he graduated from high school, he joined the merchant marine out of a strong desire to travel, relatives said. After finishing high school, he returned to the merchant marine and served until the early 1930s.
He was married in 1935 and the next year began a 30-year career as a nursing assistant at the former Marine Hospital at Wyman Park.
For 30 years, while living in a two-story brick rowhouse with four white marble steps on Darley Avenue, he was known to nearly everyone in the Clifton Park neighborhood as outgoing, fun and always trying to make the neighborhood safe.
"I used to see him sitting on the steps, and he'd get to talking about anything," said Roland Koger, a neighbor. "He was a nice guy, the kind of person who is easy to approach."
During his retirement, Mr. Stanley belonged to several senior citizens' organizations. Since 1948, he had been a member of St. Philip's Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Mr. Stanley enjoyed bowling, needlepoint and cards, but his main hobby was traveling. Among the places he visited were Cuba, Hawaii, the Panama Canal and several South American countries.
All of the trips outside of the country were taken without his wife, who has a fear of flying.
"I would be there waiting for him when he got back, but I would not go with him on a plane, and he said OK," Mrs. Stanley said. "Then he'd go off."
Services were held yesterday.
Other survivors include three sons, George Stanley III, Charles S. Stanley and James E. Stanley; three daughters, Florence Boone, Rosetta Cephas and Georgine Patterson; a brother, Theodore Stanley; 28 grandchildren; 46 great grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren. All are of Baltimore.
Pub Date: 11/08/96